SINGAPORE: Almost a third (30%) of e-commerce sales across Southeast Asia are the result of consumer journeys which begin on social media, such Facebook and Instagram, and end on messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, new data has shown.

According to Reynold D'Silva, Head of Marketing for Brands and E-Commerce at Facebook APAC, a lack of security around online payments and delivery makes two-way trust a critical issue for e-commerce buyers and sellers in the region.

And messaging apps that offer live chat and one-to-one communication give peace of mind for shoppers, he added in an exclusive article for WARC. (For more, read WARC's report: Driving 'social commerce' conversions with messaging apps & social media).

D'Silva explained that more than one billion messages are already exchanged between people and businesses on Facebook Messenger each month.

"With more than 52% of people on Facebook across Southeast Asia connected to at least one business in a foreign country, social commerce enables cross-border purchases," he said.

"The ability of these apps to transmit images and photos enables sellers to build trust by showing transactions done with satisfied customers. It also enables buyers to transmit images of advance payments done via bank account transfers to the sellers."

Fashion, beauty, infant nutrition, high-end skincare and complex devices are some of the most popular categories for social commerce, with shoppers using social media and direct messaging from product discovery to finalising payment.

As D'Silva explained: "48% of beauty buyers who discover beauty content on Facebook say they trust the people who provide information on Facebook because they have a personal connection, and 45% of beauty buyers who discover beauty content on Instagram say the same."

Data sourced from WARC