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Social Shopping-or not so social?


Social Networking is set to be even bigger in 2015.

2014 figures saw a downfall of users on Facebook, but with an increasing number of social platforms being introduced, the competition between them is at its most intense.

Each network has to modify and adjust itself in order to interest new users and retain the existing. 2014 saw numerous examples of this; Twitter created short cuts and Facebook presented automatic playing video content on the news feed, which angered many of their users, but also engaged and stimulated conversations regarding the changes. This ultimately fulfils the networks objective of free press. More changes are in store for the social platforms, which may potentially cause an uproar within the social world, but the purpose remains the same: to increase their fan following.

Three of the main uses of the internet is to socialise, sell and shop- so why not combine them? Last year both Twitter and Facebook introduced a 'buy' button giving users the simplicity of 'buying in a click'. The trend of shopping and socialising is fast becoming a virtual action; users are able to continue using the site to chat, share and post whilst also spending. The 'buy' button was proven particularly effective in selling sale or promotional items as users were more likely to spontaneously spend on the deal, simply due to the ease of doing so.

Facebook has already introduced an auto-fill form for people to store their credit card information with the possibility of checking out with over 450,000 ecommerce merchants on the web. It may be that this payment method is developed further over the course of the year to resemble a system similar to online banking. There is no doubt that 2015 will see similar actions from Twitter; Instagram also recently introduced a shopping method in the form of a sub-app allowing their users to sell and buy items without breaching the guidelines by embedding links in the description.

Facebook hackers found hidden within the messenger app an inactive feature which would allow users to transfer money to one another with no transaction fee. Should the company choose to publish and use this feature, it could have the potential to rival major, global banking brands such as Visa and MasterCard. The idea clearly takes inspiration from PayPal who generated a profit of $6.6 million in 2013, and there is no doubt that Facebook will be aiming to mirror this success.

However, this could once again, surface the long-term issue with social networks-privacy. If users are storing their card details on the site, how safe is it? Privacy is the largest issue at present, and the demand for security will only increase throughout the year. So could we see safer versions of the networking sites? Social Shopping will certainly take effect, but we're expecting a stronger system to accompany it, securing details efficiently, which will in turn, encourage us to go shopping with Facebook again.

By Beth Wilkinson

Digital Account Executive