HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The pandemic has forced businesses to shift their business model from in-store to e-commerce, but now social commerce is trending.
The director of Digital Marketing & Analytics at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Alex Garrido said social commerce is the evolution of e-commerce.
He explained this type of shopping connects shoppers directly with a seller and allows the seller to experience transactions in a social setting.
Garrido said this shopping is done through different platforms such as Facebook marketplace and Instagram and it can help boost or startup a business.
“Instead of doing business with just the people that walk to your store and purchase physically from your store, you can tap into a network of influencers. You can tap into a network of individuals that can actively become brand advocates of your business and expand your presence and conduct business without borders,” said Garrido.
He said overall people care more about a buying experience and a personal connection through social buying.
Garrido explained that a yearly study conducted at UTRGV shows about 80% of people in the Rio Grande Valley use social media, which proves social commerce opportunities are available in this area.
Shopping through social media and using payment applications can be convenient, but Garrido still recommends safety guidelines.
He said you can trust companies like Facebook and Paypal when making purchases and explained that it is the seller you need to be mindful of.
Garrido said shoppers should research a seller by checking their profiles to see what type of transactions they have made and pictures they have posted.
Meeting someone at their home to pick up a social commerce purchase is not recommended, but if it is a must, take a friend and do not go inside the home.
“Always make sure if you’re meeting with a person, make sure you meet in a public location, make sure it’s a publicly accessible location and you perhaps notify someone from your close network,” said Garrido.
As social commerce is trending, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce is making sure the community is aware.
The Vice President of Business Development at the McAllen Chamber, Jorge Sanchez, said e-commerce and social commerce is one of the newest programs the organization is offering.
He said a program offered at the McAllen chamber is called Launch McAllen and includes a section called Online Catapult.
“The Online Catapult is a training session where it takes anyone with any product or service to having an online presence. Not only on the e-commerce side or somewhere they can display their products or services, but somewhere they can interact with the public and that’s what social commerce is all bout,” said Sanchez.
He said the recent focus has been heavier on social commerce because of the pandemic and said people and businesses need to adapt to this new reality.
“Social commerce is a combination of e-commerce and the real world,” said Garrido.
He explained that the McAllen Chamber will be offering a lunch and learn session, Enabling Social Commerce for Your Business, on Oct. 14, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the McAllen Chamber with Alex Garrido as the guest speaker
Sanchez said Garrido will be providing details on social commerce such as the do’s and don’t, lists of applications businesses can use to automate their operation, and more.