Sanchit Baweja is the Co-Founder & Chief Business Officer of Stage3, a full-stack social commerce marketplace for fashion. He holds a Bachelor of Finance degree from The Australian National University and comes with a decade of experience in the field. He started his own venture Buttons ‘n’ Threads back in 2012 followed by the inception of Stage3, an AI-powered social platform where India’s 5m+ Creators (influencers and content creators) can interact, build out social video-led storefronts, and sell to India’s digitally native 300m Genz and millennials.
With a technology-driven, digital lifestyle becoming more prevalent across the country as internet proliferation and smartphone usage increase, social media has become a significant part of our lives. Especially in recent times, with online shopping gaining traction alongside social media usage, social commerce has become the fastest-growing segment of e-commerce, democratizing the sector. Social networks have become the discovery point for the 30 million+ Instagram boutiques, D2C brands, and home entrepreneurs. As per a report by Recogn, with shoppers scouting for and discovering newer, more immersive ways of online purchasing, India is projected to have about 228 million native social commerce consumers by the end of 2022.
Social commerce platforms are driving the next wave of fashion and lifestyle shopping. Given that the consumer mindset and preferences have undergone a radical transformation over the past couple of years, the broken traditional e-commerce experience is no longer fulfilling. Social commerce is well on its way to overtaking the conventional e-commerce industry by the end of the year. Here’s why:
The consumer hunt for an entertaining shopping experience
Millennials and GenZ are tech-savvy and digitally well-connected. In fact, they spend an average of 8 hours each day on social media platforms, consuming video content, messaging, and browsing through their news feeds. They expect the same immersive experience, accessibility, engagement, and convenience while shopping online. However, online and offline aisles are crammed with either commoditized apparel or overpriced unaffordable labels.
Social commerce has emerged as the game-changer for today’s fashion-forward online consumers. With easy accessibility, connections with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders), and a shopping experience led by meaningful and entertaining content, social commerce offers a seamless and convenient platform for growing online shoppers in India.
Social commerce and the burgeoning creator economy: Transforming the shopping experience
Driven by a sense of community, connections, social media personalities, and of course, engaging content, social commerce is growing astronomically. Brands on social commerce platforms focus primarily on fostering a sense of trust and community to enable a discovery-led shopping experience for consumers. Leveraging cutting-edge technology like AI, Machine Learning, IoT, etc., platforms in the social commerce space are offering consumers highly curated apparel. Besides, utilizing technologies like AI also goes a long way not just in analyzing and determining consumer behavior and buying patterns but also in creating a personalized video-led shopping experience to provide a stellar experience that is immersive, hassle-free, efficient, and streamlined.
Furthermore, apart from the millennial and GenZ consumers, social commerce offers the ideal platform for content creators chasing an entrepreneurial dream. India’s creator economy is enormous with over 5 million influencers and 30 million+ Instagram boutiques and brands, and social commerce is further fueling it by allowing influencers and brands to partner with each other and gain a wider reach while keeping customer acquisition costs to a minimum. The amalgamation of content and commerce has created an ecosystem that facilitates fulfilling and engaging interactions between buyers and sellers.
Social commerce is undeniably flourishing and is the next phase of growth for the e-commerce industry. Given the current market statistics and its skyrocketing popularity, social commerce is here to stay and transform the way we shop, perhaps forever.