Thailand’s e-commerce industry is flourishing, with new online channels available to consumers, such as e-commerce marketplaces, mobile commerce, and even live stream shopping.
To stay competitive, brands and retailers must deliver a seamless experience to consumers, who are now exploring more engaging avenues, such as social commerce. While it might seem that social commerce would be the natural evolution of e-commerce, in truth, it is still in its early stages and has limitations.
For one, social commerce is limited to larger platforms, which are just beginning to embrace it. Instagram only recently introduced shopping on Instagram Reels, while TikTok launched TikTok Shopping in November 2021.
People still think of social media as a place to socialize and discover products and services rather than a place to shop. A study showed that only 23% of Thai users shop regularly using social media platforms, partly attributed to privacy concerns. In 2021 alone, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) reported 20,000 cases of online shopping fraud.
Secondly, e-commerce platforms can showcase more brands in a single place, giving consumers a wider range of choices than social media. Through cookies, they also have the capability to streamline and personalize the shopping experience and make recommendations based on browsing history and user interests. On social commerce, users who aren’t looking for specific brands may find it more time-consuming to search for what they want and compare prices.
Also, online marketplaces are designed to offer the best e-commerce experience. Their infrastructure allows shoppers to sign up and screen sellers, as well as enable them to facilitate customer support, payment, and order processing. In contrast, social commerce focuses on getting views for your products or services and building purchasing intent.