Evolution of eCommerce

Evolution of eCommerce: from Retail to Social Networks; from China to the Western World – Part 2

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The first part of the Evolution of eCommerce blog series looked at the online trends in Asia and how eCommerce programs are integrating with social media platforms and livestreaming channels. This second part, Recent developments in Western world social media, shines a light on the level of adoption and transformation of eCommerce in the Western world, and how Facebook’s WhatsApp and Instagram are hot on the heels of Asia’s trendsetting.

Part 2 – Recent developments in Western world social media

The market for messaging apps is still growing. Consumers want more personal ways of interacting with each other, they want to experience sharing images, stories and videos, as they would if they were sitting together, and they want it all in real time. This is pushing up the usage of top messaging apps with “more than a billion monthly active users – higher than the usage figures for top social media platforms”[1].

A new direction for WhatsApp

In his keynote speech at the recent F8 Conference, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook “would transition away from the News Feed and public posts […] towards a ‘privacy-focused communications platform’ ”[2]. Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service is to expand dramatically into eCommerce with the introduction of Product Catalogs, most likely to be fully functional stores where users can browse but also buy products directly. Plus, Zuckerberg announced a WhatsApp payment system which would give users a fully immersed eCommerce experience.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introducing WhatsApp Product Catalogs – Source: www.f8.com

Instagram’s already in the game

Facebook’s Instagram already supports many eCommerce ‘shoppable’ features where users can tag and shop products directly from Instagram posts, and now it has its own shopping cart, allowing users to shop and go through checkout without ever leaving the app. The checkout feature will appear as a blue ‘Checkout on Instagram’ button, this will appear once you have selected the options for your chosen product (size, colour, etc), tap on the blue button, complete your contact and payment details and then ‘Place Order’. Instagram will save your data securely for future purchases. This streamlined and seamless shopping experience will undoubtedly inspire more users to shop and therefore increase conversion rates for brands and retailers.

Checkout on Instagram – Source: Instagram

How is Instagram’s Checkout relevant for your brand? Read our full article for more details.

In conclusion

Exactly how Facebook’s transition toward a ‘privacy-focused communications platform’ will revolutionise Facebook remains to be seen. However, the integration of Product Catalogs and a bespoke payment system for WhatsApp may provide consumers with the first fully immersed eCommerce experience from a messaging platform, therefore, leading the way in the Western world – only time will tell.

The final part of our Evolution of eCommerce blog series, Getting ready for the changes ahead, will pose the question, is your business ready to take on the challenges ahead? It looks at how businesses must ensure they deliver an outstanding consumer experience, and provides useful guidance for hero images, best-in-class eContent, Ratings & Reviews and corporate training programs.

This article was created and written by Luigi Matrone – CEO & Founder of the eBusiness Institute.

At the eBusiness Institute, we have extensive experience of working with numerous brands on their digital transformation. We understand the importance of an optimised consumer experience to drive your brand’s sales online and offline. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.


[1] https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/blog/linkedin-sponsored-inmail/2019/why-marketers-are-embracing-messaging
[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pv_Z6RxeKKI


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