Social commerce and open banking

The rise of social commerce is transforming online shopping but isn’t without problems. However, open banking could be a key.

December 7, 2022

The rise of social commerce is transforming onlineshopping, with networking services like Instagram,TikTok and Facebook offering users a quick,personalized and streamlined e- commerce solution.Indeed, projections see the global social commercemarket reaching

Gone are the days when social media was simply a retail tool forproduct promotion. Now, brands are also using it to sell their goodsand services – social commerce.

However, this way of doing business isn’t without problems,including digital fraud and consumer worries around data privacy.To combat these issues, open banking comes into play, improvingthe security of social commerce and enhancing the overall customerexperience (CX).


What is social commerce ?

A marketing and sales strategy that e-commerce and online brands are increasingly capitalizing on, socialcommerce involves buying and selling goods andservices directly within a social media channel. Be itSnapchat, Pinterest or YouTube, the entire experience – from research to checkout – takes place on the social platform.

Social commerce is an interactive activity that removes frictionfrom the customer journey, speeds up the transaction processand offers an easy way to collect feedback. And, given thewealth of data social media makes available, companies cantarget advertising towards their prime audience.

Moreover, social commerce shifts power from retailers to people.Consumers buy products based on recommendations and inspiration from individuals they trust, be it friends, family or authentic influencers.


The rise of social commerce

By weaving online shopping into the fabric of everyday life and cultivating a sense of community and connection,social commerce is revolutionizing the retail industry andgrowing rapidly. Research by Linnworks supports that,revealing that 71% of people would rather complete a purchase on a social platform than beredirected to a retail site.

As the primary social media users, younger consumers likemillennials and digital native Gen Zers are leading the charge.Accenture predicts these groups will account for 62% of socialcommerce expenditure by 2025; they also expect the worldwide market to grow three times as fast as traditional e-commerce,reaching $1.2 trillion by the same year.

And, if we look at the market in China – more advanced thanWestern countries in terms of social commerce – growth has already skyrocketed. For example, as of December 2020, 71% of Chinese consumers said they were likely to shop viasocial media.


The risks of social commerce

Despite its popularity, social commerce also comes withrisks. A common worry among customers is the protection of their personal information. According to a survey by Malwarebytes, up to 95% of individuals don’ttrust social media, including its capacity to secure their data.

There are also concerns about account takeover fraud (ATO),whereby cybercriminals gain access to a legitimate online account and use it to withdraw money, make purchases, or extract sensitive data they can then sell or use to access otheraccounts.

Additionally, there’s uncertainty around the authenticity of itemssold on social channels. Indeed, the Anti-Counterfeiting Group(ACG) estimated that 31% of shoppers unintentionally boughtfake products online in 2019, with 23% of those goodspurchased via social media.

Fraud also impacts businesses, with merchants funnelingbetween 3% and 5% of their revenue towards combating it.

Clearly, for social commerce to continue and maintain its success,efficient solutions need to be found and implemented in tacklingthese issues.


Boosting payment security via open banking

Open banking offers a robust, safe and convenient way to tackle risks associated with social commerce. For example, The API Specifications support payment initiation services (PIS), allowing social commerceretailers to integrate open banking payments into the customer journey with relative ease.

Meanwhile, shoppers pay companies directly from theiraccounts, using their bank’s stringent security and verificationprocedures. That way, consumers don’t share sensitiveinformation on social media; similarly, banks don’t store data withthe social site or the merchant.

Not only that, but the rigorous verification process also defends businesses against card-not- present fraud, safeguarding theirreputation while reducing investment in preventative solutions.


Open banking : Additional advantages

Alongside bolstering payment security, open banking can also improve CX by offering a more personalized and data-driven experience that understands individual needs and keeps usersengaged at every touchpoint. In turn, that fosterscustomer loyalty.

By using open banking to access a person’s account informationthrough their bank’s APIs, social commerce enterprises can offer custom payment methods. For example, people can payimmediately via open banking’s Instant Payments infrastructure,increasing convenience while reducing risk. Also, retailers can embed bank account data and display it at checkout, showingshoppers their balance and transaction history.

Furthermore, chargebacks are eliminated (open banking doesn’tsupport them), paving the way for direct relationships between payment providers and merchants, plus more efficient disputeresolution for consumers.

Over 50 countries are well on the path to open banking. Interms of social commerce, behemoth Alibaba and payment app Alipay leverage open banking in China. In the West, open banking is an increasingly high priority for banks and financialservices organizations – now’s the time for social commercebusinesses to get on board too.


Social Commerce : Harnessing the power of open banking

In 2022, the global number of social media users is setto reach 3.96 billion, with people spending an averageof 144 minutes per day using networking services. Aspart of that, social commerce is growing rapidly, withthe likes of Instagram Shops, Facebook Shops, and TikTok’s partnership with Shopify emerging in recent years.

Social commerce is a revenue-generating opportunity for brands toexplore, but it doesn’t come risk- free, with digital fraud a pressingissue. Facing this challenge head-on is open banking, offering aseamless and secure way to process payments while facilitating a more tailored, interactive and streamlined experience forcustomers.

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