In recent years, the growth of social commerce has been slow for two main reasons. First, because of security and legitimacy concerns and second, because of the de facto separation between social media and e-commerce sites where to finalize the purchase.
A large market just waiting to be tapped
In December 2018, we wrote:
Social media play a big role in the consumer’s purchase journey, but are not the point of purchase for most users. They prefer to move to e-commerce sites when it comes to clicking on the ‘buy’ button. Facebook and its competitors do not seem to offer any real benefits for users.
According to Business Insider, at the end of last year, social commerce affected the American market for less than 4% of the total online sales volume.
Nevertheless, with the spread of social media and digital capabilities, it was reasonable to expect the progressive growth of a large, possible market to be targeted with a more decisive technological commitment. Allowing visitors to complete the transaction directly on them has in fact been for years the declared objective of the most important social media.
The lockdown boost
A recent study conducted by Bain & Company in five European countries outlines the profile of the Italian consumer in the post-lockdown phase. 30% of our fellow citizens have declared their conviction that post-COVID life will never be same as it was before.
This for all activities that involve a certain closeness, such as, for example, going to the restaurant. Online shopping has increased its appeal in a decisive way, like the use of social media, where Italy ranks first compared with the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Sweden.
A few days ago, a lot of attention was given to Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement regarding Facebook Shops. These are designed to incentivise businesses to move online by creating a single store which can be accessed by customers both on Facebook and Instagram. This will make it possible for customers to find the Facebook Shops on the Facebook page or Instagram profile, to see what is on offer, save the products of interest and then order them on the brand’s website. Last autumn, Mark Zuckerberg admitted his regret for not having taken sufficient note of WeChat, the most important online service platform in the world. Now he wants to make up for the lost time by incorporating almost all of the most important functions: video chats, group stories, payment services, e-commerce.
Retex, Iconic, and the ‘social restaurant’
Retex has, in this sense, a remarkable history due to its long-standing commitment with (and on) WeChat, allowing us to achieve significant results also in the restaurant sector. In fact, in WeChat we have developed and established a highly advanced digital platform, Iconic.
The recent evolution of Iconic, designed for large-scale Food & Beverage e-commerce, supports the restaurant business in all its new processes, inside and outside the venue: self ordering, pay-at-the-table, integration with food delivery services. It also constitutes the best solution for the management of the restaurateur’s social commerce.
The use of Iconic is very simple. The restaurant owner displays the menu on his Facebook page. By clicking the ‘shop’ button, the visitor can immediately compose and purchase the menu of his liking. The transaction is immediately past over to the restaurant’s e-commerce site to follow the typical path of any online transaction: add to the cart, collection or delivery options, payments.
(Luca Venturoli, Retex Food & Beverage BU Director)
In this way, the restaurant owner has an extensive base of potential users who do not need to perform any type of search because it is already present on the social network.
The social commerce for the restaurant sector, on Facebook or other platforms, requires first of all solid skills and adequate technologies. This is all the more important today, considering the consequences of the pandemic and the change in consumer behaviour. For those wanting to go to the restaurant, via Facebook, the solution is already at home.