How the Social Commerce Boom Is Changing Fashion’s Supply Chain Infrastructure

Powered by fashion-tech innovation, e-commerce has turned into a social experience where social shopping is becoming the norm. Many fashion businesses that want to change the game are now looking for ways to take advantage of the social commerce boom to drive more sales. Described by PayPal as the new shopping mall, social commerce is something that you should not sleep on, especially since “61% of businesses are expected to embrace social commerce in 2020,” according to the online payment company’s Global mCommerce report.

The Rise of Shopping via Social Media

Social media used to be about engaging with your friends and family online, and now it is more than that. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter are being used by fashion businesses to engage with their customer base, and the result is that around 90% of Instagram users follow at least one brand. This type of connectivity means that the potential for social feeds to drive sales is pretty high.

A great example is Boo Hoo. The online fast-fashion retailer’s social media strategy has been integral to its success. So much so that the company saw an online sales rise of 45% in the three months, during the lockdown. Their secret? They have found a way to seamlessly target and engage a young audience, especially on Instagram. “Relatively speaking, [Boo Hoo] has a far more engaged social media base than many other retailers – and it can use digital as a call to arms,” explained John Stevenson, a retail analyst at Peel Hunt, to BBC Business Reporter Tim Bowler. 

So if you are looking to integrate social platform software and APIs into your existing supply chain infrastructure, then you can take advantage of functions like ‘buy’ and ‘checkout’ features to sell products right on your feeds. There are a few catches, though, besides needing to modernize your supply chain, you will also need to find a way to live up to the expectations of today’s new customer. 

Capitalizing on the Boom

There is no denying that today’s modern consumer wants to purchase items with the click of a button. It is a fact that has spurred retailers to adopt supply chain innovation so they can keep up with consumer behavior and demands. On this, Kathy Leake, a Forbes Councils Member, wrote in an article titled ‘The Evolution Of Retail: Chasing Changing Consumer Habits’: “The customer experience has evolved with the help of new technologies and sales strategies, from one-click buying to new ways to rent products. The smart retailer should devise ways to engage with customers at each point of this new sales ecosystem and to understand their unique needs.”

With COVID-19 changing how many companies do business, some are already shifting into a position that allows them to take advantage of the new trend in social commerce. “Today, ‘Buy Now’ buttons are a reality and allow people to shop when they are scrolling through social media platforms—making it a popular commerce trend,” explained Paul Parisi, President of PayPal Canada.  So if you are ready to follow the fashion companies already taking advantage of the social commerce boom by selling on social media sites and apps, then you need to prepared to change your supply chain so you can meet demand.

To capitalize on the boom of shopping via social media, you need first to understand the rapidly changing retail habits and how they are likely to affect your supply chain. Note that brands that use new technology are likely to appeal to Generation Z and Millennials. They are more likely to adopt social commerce, according to the Global Web Index report. They reported: “They are 60% more inclined to make a purchase on a social platform when given the opportunity. Buy now, pay later schemes like Klarna also give customers even easier ways to purchase products at a time of their choosing.”

Disruptive Change, New Business Models and Supply Chain Designs

To successfully deliver social media shopping experience, you need first to consider how your supply chain needs to develop so you can meet customer expectations. Challenges will likely occur in areas like freight, transportation, and distribution, so you need to build a more extensive network equipped to help you deliver a frictionless end-to-end experience to your targeted customer. “In order to reach as many supply chain and logistics professionals as possible means it’s key to identify, engage and leverage as many supply chain influencers as possible,” advises Jeff Ashcroft, a writer, and supply chain expert. 

Taking your fashion business to the next stage of growth is a balancing act that will require you to optimize your supply chain so you can meet demand. As the lockdown continues to affect consumer shopping habits, there is no denying that the situation has become a catalyst for trends like online social buying. As experts continue to believe that social commerce is on the brink of snowballing, I wouldn’t be surprised if the birth of the socially-minded shopper has made it crucial for the fashion supply chains to be equipped to face the ever-evolving retail landscape.

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Written by Muchaneta Kapfunde

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