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The Role of Social Media on C2C Platforms
We discuss how the prevalence of social media has helped to propel C2C platforms forward, and how it can help your business.

In the past, C2C (consumer-to-consumer) buying and selling was limited to advertisements in the local paper or through word of mouth. Now, with social media, sellers can instantly connect to millions of potential buyers across the world through C2C platforms that have facilitated more transactions than ever before.

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Providing a Platform
In Asia, a number of C2C platforms, such as Carousell and Taobao, have risen to prominence. One reason for the popularity of these platforms is that they allow anyone to sell whatever they want, and at the volume they choose, without the need to attain retail licenses. In the case of Carousell, which is based in Singapore, it helped Singaporeans sell off their pre-owned clothes. Users of Carousell shared their experience on social media and inadvertently promoted the platform, saving Carousell the need for advertising.

Taobao is arguably dominating the C2C space in China at the moment. There are a number of reasons for its success, such as not charging users a commission at first, which helped it beat out eBay in the Chinese market, but more so due to its clever use of social media.

Taobao, which operates in China, has an unlikely advantage of being limited to local social media platforms, since China has strict controls on what websites its people can access. These regulations on Chinese citizens have made them avid content creators who are very active on social media, fuelling more active participation on these platforms. It has also created a social media site of its own, guang.taobao.com, which allows users to share pictures, advice, trends and news, as well as advertise their wares. Items on this platform that are for sale have links that direct users to purchase the item, which also helps to create the seamless shopping experience that customers want.

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Let Consumers Do the Talking
When consumers have a personal stake in whether their products sell or not, they are more likely to promote the platform they are selling on, which in turn drives more traffic to the site. It is no wonder then that online retailers have created their own C2C options, such as Clozette.co’s Bazaar and Zalora’s Marketplace, to take advantage of consumer publicity.

For retailers who are not directly involved in C2C, the active discussion and social media buzz that surrounds this area can provide valuable insights into what consumers are looking for and what they value.

As there is no clear dominant C2C platform in most parts of Asia for now, the savvy use of social media to stir customer interest and spark discussions could be the key for new brands to climb to the top.