US users spend an average of 69 minutes per day on social media - 69 minutes to learn, laugh, and increasingly, shop. Sales from social commerce grew nearly 38% in 2020, reaching $26.77 billion, and are expected to reach over $36 billion in 2021 (+35%) and $52.5 billion by 2023. Comparatively, total retail ecommerce will grow at an expected 13% for 2021. The conclusion? Social is ripe for sales.
Each of the social major platforms have either actively entered or have stated the intention to enter the commerce space, capitalizing on the significant amount of time consumers spend with the platforms. While Facebook and Instagram currently dominate the social commerce landscape, platforms such as Snapchat, TikTok, and Pinterest are taking aim and rolling out their own solutions for social shopping, and they are bringing more than targeted ads with them.
One of the primary drivers of social commerce is the ease of product discovery and communication of value to the consumer. Users are presented with products that align with interests and profiles that they have already explored, and are often primed for purchase by viewing content from influencers showcasing how awesome the latest products are, and why users need them. As the technology behind social commerce has evolved, the greatest deterrents from purchasing through social, namely the friction between discovery and purchase and a wariness of data/payment security, have decreased, opening a greater market for brands to leverage.
The combination of highly visual platforms and the social currency communicated by brands and influencers create a lucrative environment that goes beyond the brand building benefits that first attracted businesses to social media. However, despite the great opportunities that social media affords, this great degree of growth also comes with a need for brands to be able to deliver content and experiences that are of equal caliber to the rest of their branded channels. For both brands and platforms to be able to leverage social commerce, the ability to create shopping experiences that meet consumers evolving and discerning demands is imperative.
Research has shown that 82% of shoppers will activate a 3D experience within a product page, and 95% prefer an interactive experience to a video. As more brands adopt interactive features on their sites, the demand for these experiences and the benefits they bring to consumers is increasing across industries and product verticals. While many of the brands advertising on social may be using 3D or augmented reality on their website, many of the social commerce experiences up until now have lacked these interactive features. In addition, brands who have elevated their digital experiences on their own site must now account for the experience that shoppers have when discovering their products on other platforms.
3D experiences allow consumers to address some of the biggest challenges in shopping online, including the lack of confidence that often comes with purchasing a product that you can not physically inspect. High fidelity 3D models are designed to allow for the same level of evaluation online as a consumer would have in store, from the colors, to the materials, to the functions of the product and its accessories. In some ways, the shopper is able to more carefully evaluate a product online than they would in store, using 3D configurators to select their exact model or AR to view a product in their space.
3D experiences are also a great tool for quickly educating consumers about a product on social media, using models to demonstrate how a product functions or how specific features make it the best option on the market.With the high frequency of impulse purchases driven by social media, the addition of the wow factor contributed by 3D and AR also serves as a potential catalyst for sales as consumers are immersed in excitement surrounding the product.
In terms of added value for the brand, not only does social help reach consumers on new channels, but the sales have proven to be significant. While the highest average cart value for ecommerce is driven by direct traffic to a brand site at just over $100, sales from social media trail by only $25. For brands who are able to match their direct traffic web experience on social media, this is an opportunity not to be ignored.
Among the major social platforms, Pinterest and Snapchat are the most established in offering 3D and augmented reality to their users, though Pinterest is by far the most recognized as the leader in AR from a commerce perspective. Where Pinterest has been viewed more as a search engine with direct ties to commerce, Snapchat has had to make pivots and advancements to become a player in the commerce space. However, a late entry to the race has not stopped Snapchat from making notable partnerships, including American Eagle for virtual jeans try on and an IKEA room design experience.
Each platform has tackled 3D and AR in a way that they believe will best fit their users and the needs of the advertiser that they are targeting. As the offerings become more refined, the level of parity among the platforms should increase. While the platforms themselves may not want this level of parity, brands looking to create the best experience for their customers should take note, and be ready to leverage the best technology has to offer in digital experiences.
Ready to see how you can bring immersive experiences online on all of your favorite platforms? Head over to our 3D configurator demos and get in touch with one of our visual experts.