Clearly, social media plays an essential role in our lives. We post updates about the activities we participate in, interests we have, and important life events like starting a new job or graduating or marriage. Just the other day I was invited to a friend’s engagement party through Facebook. But is shopping among the many tasks we carry out through social media?
To what extent do we shop through social media? You don’t have to monitor the increasing development of online shopping to notice that more and more companies seem to be moving towards social media as a medium to sell, and really why not? People in the region spend an average of 3 hours daily on various social media websites, so finding buyers through this medium seems like a good idea.
In this blog, I present some creative uses of social media for shopping that I’ve come across. But if you are interested in a long list of innovations in the realm of online shopping, you can check this out:
Like to buy
Do you ever scroll through images on Instagram and wish you could buy the displayed clothes? Well, if you’re on Vogue’s Instagram page you can tap ‘like’ on any image in their feed and get 2 options: buy the product, or if they don’t sell it, get options for other items that have the “same look”.
More Instagram shopping
Vogue isn’t the only one getting creative on Instagram. Many individuals have found ways to sell a variety of items through this social media channel.
I’ve come across many selling Abayas (the local GCC female dress), and bed sets. But by far the most bizarre thing I’ve found being sold on Instagram to date is sheep. Yes, sheep.
#Tag to buy
Like a product you see on Twitter? Well, some companies will now let you buy it directly through Twitter.
Amazon’s “Hashtag Shopping” mechanism allows customers to type in “#AmazonCart” and then confirm the purchase via email.
e-Commerce in the Middle East
Generally, e-Commerce in the region remains a rapidly growing industry. According to a report by Visa, the Middle East has the fastest growing e-Commerce markets in the world, with a 45% growth rate year on year. According to other report by Digital Portal, Qatar holds the second largest market share among e-Commerce markets in the region, at an estimated $375 million.
Although some in Qatar shop online, and do so for reasons such as better prices, convenience and for goods that are not available locally to them. Many, however, remain wary of online commerce. Overall, only 15% of the people living in Qatar engage in e-Commerce, while the remaining cite security at the top of the list of concerns towards online shopping. Many (25%) also express their preference for “traditional” interaction with the products and sellers and explain that they feel the need to physically inspect items before they make a purchase.
So will social media or other e-Commerce innovations relax the fear about online financial transactions in the region?