Agencies in the Social Commerce Era

social commerce definition

Up until now, the majority of agencies in the still nascent ‘social commerce space’ will look a lot like web 2.0 social media agencies with an influencer marketing twist.

social commerce components

As we have seen relative to the UGC Video and Live Shopping trend, however, this may soon change due to the increasing competition and sophistication in the market.

There are several paid marketplaces for brands themselves to find Creators/Influencers, including InSense, MiniSocial, SARAL, and many others.

A plethora of live shopping platforms have emerged – ones that ‘bundle’ on top of native eCommerce platforms like Shopify – such as BuyWith, NTWRK, Bond, and others.

The market in countries like India is going through hypergrowth currently, and that trend will continue to expand into Western markets in the next 5 years.

global social commerce market growth

Thus what will be considered a ‘social commerce agency’ in the future will be much different than today.

What will a ‘social commerce agency’ look like in the future?

Niching Down

In the spirit of Dominating a Niche, we can see now that emerging agencies generally specialize in broad categories like eCommerce.

As the market grows, however, and the potential opportunities to expand onto different social commerce platforms multiplies, some agencies will begin to specialize in very specific niches.

What about an agency that specializes in social commerce in the ‘pets’ space? Or how about those who can sell to gardeners and green thumbs?

The increasing growth of the market will force focus and some agencies will begin to ‘niche down’ to become experts in the category and capture market share.

Betting on Talent

What makes a brand epic (or not) is whether it is memorable for certain characteristics in the eyes of consumers. Big brands with big budgets will pay to have their names associated with the top Influencers/Creators because they can. But small upstarts can’t.

What they can do is “bet” on an emerging talent in one of several possible areas and try and be ahead of their time:

Young people in the earliest stages of building up an audience may be in school or just be starting their careers and could use the extra cash, while companies betting big on themselves in the early stages need to conserve cash.

Social commerce agencies that can help scout talent without being excessively commercial in the earliest stages may be able to carve out a major niche in the market.

Experts in Live Shopping

There is a HUGE difference between users scrolling asynchronous video clips on Instagram or Tiktok and live shopping on specific platforms.

Most of the major live shopping platforms already have their own set of Creators or Influencers that they pair with brands to execute a live shopping session.

Agencies themselves will begin to understand that certain platforms thrive in some areas more than others and will cater towards certain brands who can take Creators/Influencers across multiple social shopping platforms.

The expertise in how to run and deliver on a live shopping event will take some time to develop, especially given that the market is just beginning. But some social commerce agencies will build “the franchise” around this single area in the year ahead.

Coaching for Social Selling

Once an entrepreneur or brand engages an agency to get into the social commerce space, there is always that chance that things won’t go as planned or the results will be underwhelming and the budget spent.

Thus, those same entrepreneurs and their employees will need to continue ‘selling’ themselves across social channels, as the market will continue to multiple exponentially in these spaces. They will need to be coached in how to do this.

Thus certain social commerce agencies who specialize in the infrastructure and administration of managing multiple sales/social platforms will be able to simply coach would-be clients in how to administer the process themselves.

It sounds less sexy than the above, but making entrepreneurs and their teams more ‘fluent’ in this space is a big value add.

Creating a Community

‘Community’ is all the rage these days and there are many emerging companies across multiple vertical building community business models.

Those brands who have success on other platforms will want to capture as much recurring business as possible. Thus many will experiment with building their own communities on platforms like Circle, Discord, etc. in sync with their social commerce activities.

Agencies who are experts in community creation and management will see an opportunity here. How the pieces would come together is tbd, as community management is a very labor intensive, long-term activity.