Social commerce revolutionises the eCommerce landscape
- Consumer appetite has been growing for social shopping and buying, with more people turning to social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to find and buy their products.
- New sustainable, creative and practical packaging opportunities are emerging to meet social buying needs. We understand the need of brands to keep up with growing eCommerce channels and audiences to stay ahead of the demand, as the social commerce industry in Europe is expected to grow heavily ( by 28.2% on annual basis to reach US$75246.7 million in 2023 ).
Whether we call it online shopping, influencer browsing, or chat commerce, shopping is shifting from brick-and-mortar marketplaces to the digital sphere and platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and WeChat. Commerce has entered a new phase: the age of social commerce, giving ‘social-first platforms launching commerce features’ a name. By capitalising on an individual’s social media presence, network, experience, and interactions, brands are making it even easier for consumers to tap into live product presentations and trigger purchases with the simple push of a button — even eCommerce veterans have to adjust to new rules of the game.
Social commerce has gone mobile with in-app store modules
Asia has been a social commerce frontrunner where smartphone apps like WeChat in China and Meesho in India have long offered young consumers integrated chat, shopping and payment functions. This trend is also gaining momentum in Europe and other regions. Take Germany as an example: eCommerce now accounts for about 20 percent (roughly 100 billion euros) of total retail sales. Among 30–39-year-olds, 54 percent of these purchases are mobile, while it’s even two out of three purchases for 14-29-year-olds. At the same time, conventional web stores have lost traffic, with an approximately 50% decrease in young shoppers obtaining their information from these channels between 2017 and 2021.
With this movement in mind, it’s hardly surprising that eCommerce heavyweight Amazon is following suit and released its own version of a social commerce platform last year. Beginning in the U.S. and targeting select customers, “Amazon Inspire” is now being rolled out more widely to boost consumer engagement, sales, and revenue on their platform.
Beyond unwrapping – evolving consumer expectations drive retailers to think outside the box
Packaging has become an even more pivotal element in the consumer brand experience in combination with social media as a growing online shopping channel. Especially in online shopping, the role of packaging cannot be underestimated, as it is often the first tangible touchpoint with a brand for online shoppers. In particular, the younger generation of online shoppers keep a close eye on the sustainability of packaging and its size. They might even avoid repeatedly ordering from brands that ship goods in unsustainable and inconvenient packages.
This means that packaging must not only fit seamlessly into a brand’s identity and create a positive, long-lasting first impression with consumers, but it must also convincingly meet the sustainability expectations of consumers while still delivering on the performance expected of eCommerce packaging. This is where a diverse paper and packaging portfolio is critical in providing the right solutions.
Packaging agility: the solution for next-gen social commerce
To meet the changing consumer demands while still fulfilling the functional needs of packaging, brand owners and fulfilment centres are rightly requesting high-performance, highly adaptable packaging solutions. In recent years, fit-for-product materials and packaging portfolios, from kraft paper and paper mailer bags to corrugated solutions, have proven to be just that. Functional aspects such as stability, ease of handling in fulfilment, protection of products and cost-efficient use of material and space continue to be important. However, instead of a one-size-fits-all packaging solution, flexibility, practicality, and sustainability are the most important requirements.
With the rise of social commerce, the very nature of online shopping and the retail experience is changing. It’s no longer just about spectacular “unboxing moments” – consumers are demanding more from brands, retailers and their packaging. The packaging is more than a visual and tactile touchpoint, it increasingly influences consumers’ perception of the brand and whether it aligns with their own views on sustainability. Packaging agility is the key to delivering on these changing consumer expectations while meeting the functional needs of eCommerce players.