Get ready to ride the social-commerce wave

The use of social networks in the context of e-commerce transactions sees the rise of internet sensation ‘Brother Pomegranate’ amid the growing global trend of rural entrepreneurship.
Read time 3min 30sec

Imagine for a moment, little pods in future where kitchen rental spaces are shared between chefs that cook for fast food, coffee shops, fine dining and pop-up stores, all from one shared space. 

Mobility is like real-time data; everyone is driving this, especially post-pandemic.

Wikipedia defines social-commerce as a subset of electronic commerce that involves social media and online media that supports social interaction and user contributions to assist online buying and selling of products and services.

More succinctly, social-commerce is the use of social networks in the context of e-commerce transactions. Social warfare is about to get real!

Social-commerce encourages people to connect with a business through two-way communication. This allows customers to engage with your company and will enable them to use social media as an efficient customer service channel where it’s possible to solve problems.

Examples of this include Spotify, Instagram and TikTok’s latest features updates, with the newest headline, “Chinese farmers earn millions from live-streaming fruit on China’s TikTok”, where six-million-yuan-worth of pomegranates was sold in 20 minutes.

This farmer was heavily indebted, peddling fruit to tourists in the streets of Lijiang, Yunnan. Now he’s Brother Pomegranate, an internet sensation with 7.3 million followers and 300 million yuan ($46 million) of sales in 2020.

This is indicative of the growing trend of rural entrepreneurship globally. In remote provinces, farmers and agricultural vendors sell goods directly to urban consumers via interactive live streams and bite-sized videos.

Data is the holy grail that social media companies already rely on for their core business.

Revenue generation soars with personalised social influencers’ promos, child influencers for anything from toys, robots, education, healthcare, medical tech, gadgets and so much more.

The latest play for retail payments and fintech is highlighted by banks readjusting their outlook by backing these influencers; yes, it’s a new job title and credit reference point.

Let’s pause and understand the implications of this within Africa. Ponder upon the age demographics, ethical considerations, or even cultural applications.

Are we moving from super-apps to super-portals? In what could be a boon for social-commerce, approximately 40% of consumers would be most interested in integrating four types of data into a “super-portal” through which consumers can make their digital lives more seamless. The data types involve their payments, shopping, family connections and connections with friends.

Data is the holy grail that social media companies already rely on for their core business, and we will soon add social influencers as a data type.

These are superhighway-connected shoppers, but one begs to explore web tracking, data privacy, web spoofing, cyber squatting, IP theft and copyright, to name a few issues. This is back-dropped by countries that have implemented data privacy only recently, and maybe not even very effectively yet.

Ponder upon resolving discrimination, harassment and unethical cultural issues on these super-portals. Finding a balance between social-commerce and traditional brick-and-mortar, personalisation has unwittingly become an integral part of the e-commerce industry, and the companies offering personalisation will always remain ahead of the others.

Will we see Africa’s e-commerce start-ups looking into purchasing their own warehousing and ordering directly from retailers’ warehouses for pickup, as this way there are less costs and quicker delivery time? The US is currently testing 10-minute delivery or last mile deliveries. Wow!

A past division of power between big-box all-commodity online stores and smaller ultra-focused retailers may be bridged for the SMME sector. Or spawn virtual reality and augmented reality innovations.

Our new world of extended reality shopping, tap and swipe left to add to cart, and then it’s shipped and distributed through improved logistics, then backpacked on an autonomous trucking delivery with robots packaging the self-driven home delivery vehicles, and rest assured of delivery as compartments are fingerprint-endorsed.

The way we shop has been reinvented. This is the first step to reinventing industries; maybe food industries are next.

Lavina Ramkissoon

Conscious Creator I Trailblazer I Thought Leader

Ramkissoon, who writes in her personal capacity, is an AI mentor, strategist and trailblazer standing for the unification of the African tech space. She is a conscious tech proponent with expertise in strategy, technology and psychology, and their integration into AI, blockchain and ethics. This tech catalyst has roles as chairperson, director and founder across multiple industries, sectors and technologies − aiming to unlock the potential of the African AI arena. 

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