The introduction of buy buttons on social networks, plus stepped-up deployment of public Wi-Fi, will boost global e-commerce sales by more than 17% to $1.7 billion in 2015, according to a study from Juniper Research, a British firm that tracks digital growth markets.
In the last month Pinterest debuted “buyable pins” and Instagram introduced “shoppable grams,” laying the foundation for a new retail business strategy for social networks. “In the medium term,” noted Juniper’s report, “sales would receive a strong fillip from the trend of social media companies to act as direct sales platforms.”
The entry of social networks into the marketplace business will further establish mobile’s credentials as a buying platform, and Juniper forecasts smartphones will be used in two out of five e-commerce purchases by 2020.
The report cautioned retailers not to get too caught up in the digital whirl, but to maximize their strengths in all channels. “Integration between in-store and online is also critical if the retailers want to maximize the extent to which that can identify a unique individual’s omnichannel shopping habits,” Juniper said.