The Rise of Social Commerce: How Gen Z’s Expectations are Transforming the Future of Customer Experience

As the newest generation enters the business world, Gen Z makes sure to carry their own unique habits and worldviews to revolutionize the way we interact with customers. One of these many ways is social commerce.

 

Social Commerce 101

The internet has completely altered the way we interact with each other, not to mention brands. This has led to the rise of social commerce, which Shopify defines as “the use of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to market and sell products and services.” With TikTok being one of its newest and most effective additions, this type of commerce leverages different social networks and user-generated content to drive product discovery, customer engagement, and sales.

In fact, Statista recently shared that global sales through social media platforms were estimated at 992 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, online purchases through this channel are set to become even more popular in the future.

 

Social commerce can come in many forms, such as:

  • Social shopping: this is the ability to shop directly from social media platforms by clicking on product tags or links.
  • Peer-to-peer sales: buying and selling products directly between individuals on these platforms, which has been enabled by Facebook Marketplace.
  • Social recommendations: social media platforms allow for the promotion of products or services through UGC, such as reviews, ratings, or recommendations, making these  more relevant than ever to drive commerce

 

Integrating social media and e-commerce has allowed social commerce to thrive by giving customers the power to discover, evaluate, and purchase products directly from within their social media feeds, without altering their habits.

 

 

Navigating the Social Commerce Landscape: How Gen Z is Shaping the Future

While Millennials are the perfect target audience for e-commerce brands, Gen Z has displayed a strong preference for social commerce. This close relationship is a  result of Gen Z being the first true digitally native generation, as well as being the most active generation on these platforms.

 

More than half of Gen Zers spend four or more hours on social media every single day, per a new Morning Consult survey.

 

On top of spending a big portion of their day on social media, they also tend to trust social media influencers and user-generated content more than traditional advertising, making them more receptive to social commerce.

This means that brands targeting Gen Zers without at least a strong social media presence are set up to fail. As a result, brands and retailers are increasingly leveraging these platforms to reach younger consumers and sell their products more efficiently.

Social commerce features such as shoppable posts, product tags, and in-app checkout are becoming more common within social media platforms to facilitate integration for businesses. This allows Gen Z consumers to discover and purchase products right from their social media feeds, making the shopping experience more seamless and convenient.

 

Influencer Marketing: How Brands are Leveraging Social Media to Drive Sales

The rise of influencer marketing has not gone unnoticed, as they have become a popular way for brands to reach new customers and drive sales through social media platforms.

Through product endorsements, sponsored content, affiliate marketing, or even influencer takeovers, brands breach the distance between the rising generation and themselves to drive even higher levels of revenue. The key to this strategy is to partner with influencers who have strong follower counts and engagement with specific target audiences, as this will enable brands to tap into their audience and leverage their influence to promote products or services.

Of course, influencer marketing should not replace branded content or other forms of marketing, but they must have their own space on any marketing strategy looking to reach younger audiences.

 

Read more: The Value of Integrating CX in Marketing

 

The Intersection of CX and Social Commerce: Strategies to Win Over Gen Z

Since CX refers to the overall impression customers have of a brand based on their interactions with it across various touchpoints, social commerce can be inherently linked to it.

Providing a seamless and engaging shopping experience to customers on social media makes it possible to leverage social proof, allowing businesses to increase their chances of success in the modern highly competitive digital marketplace.

Gen Z’s expectations and behaviors are having a meaningful impact on social commerce and CX. As businesses that want to succeed in today’s digital marketplace are required to understand and cater to the unique needs and preferences of this generation.

Interested in winning over Gen Z? Follow these strategies:

 

1. Mobile-first mentality

Growing up always with a smartphone or tablet by their side has created a mobile-first mentality in Gen Z. This created an expectation for mobile-optimized websites and apps to offer a convenient shopping experience.

 

2. Authenticity and transparency

Valuing authenticity and transparency from brands is one of the big differentiators of Gen Z’s support of brands. They are very skeptical of traditional advertising and are more likely to trust user-generated content and social proof. This has caused a need for transparency and genuine intention in their social media presence to build trust and loyalty with this generation.

 

3. Personalization

Personalized experiences from brands are a must for Gen Z, including personalized product recommendations and tailored communication. Although this might seem like a challenge, social media platforms have provided businesses with a wealth of data that they can use to create more personalized experiences for their customers.

 

4. Social responsibility

Gen Z cares about social responsibility and expects brands to be socially responsible as well. Whether a business makes a positive impact on the world is a big factor in their decision of supporting it or not.

 

5. Immediate feedback

Social media has made instant gratification and immediate feedback a must for this generation. The good news is that social media is also the perfect avenue to engage with your customers in real-time and respond to their inquiries and provide feedback promptly, making sure they are satisfied with your experience with you at every step of the way.

 

At Horatio, we’ve not only become experts in implementing these strategies but also in Gen Z communication. As strategic allies in successfully reaching this demographic, our young workforce has also allowed us to adjust to the evolving trends, which leads to better customer experiences for you all around.

As CX requires personalized and unique approaches in order to be successful, understanding how Gen Z has changed the CX rulebook is a must. Contact us now to discover all we can do for you in connecting you with your ideal audience, including the tough crowd that is the youngest generation.

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