Social – Next Big Thing for eCommerce

Social channels were not a meaningful source of direct traffic and sales. Till 2013, social channels contributed only 1.55% of all traffic to some of the top eCommerce sites on the web. They were commonly regarded as a means of promoting products, but not necessarily the force that drives conversions and sales.But believe me, this is all set to change, and change for good.

Social – Next Big Thing for eCommerce

Ecommerce is evolving big time and empowering brands and businesses to generate that awareness, invite and engage customers, and also facilitate purchases conveniently through social channels. So let’s call is social commerce, as it is an approach that is fast being adopted and has made its place in strategies that are discussed and decided upon in board rooms.

Social commerce has been really a success when it comes to taking several forms, with all of them having a different impact on conversions and sales for online stores. In this article we will see some of the most common types of social commerce and also the brands that are already reaping the benefits of this opportunity!

Peer to Peer Marketplaces

Peer to Peer Marketplaces

Peer to Peer marketplace, as the name itself suggests, successfully connects sellers and buyers – so as to facilitate both with the benefits from the transaction. These are the sites that utilize user participation and engagement to reach their goal. Some of the big players include: AirBnB (travel P2P marketplace), Olx, Craigslist and Uber (work and service P2P marketplace), eBay (ecommerce P2P marketplace), Bitcoin (money P2P marketplace), Betfair (gambling P2P marketplace) and several others.

Group Buying Platforms

Group Buying Platforms

Group buying or collective buying as you can say, if a platform that offers products and services at considerably reduced prices. But this is on a condition that a minimum number of buyers would or are making the purchase. Some prominent platforms in this category include Groupon, LivingSocial and Plum District.

Peer Recommendations

Peer Recommendations

Social commerce without peer recommendations, can you imagine it, at least I cannot? Peer recommendations are the ones that include aggregated product reviews, endorsements and rewards in exchange of social sharing their products. One fine example, I f I have to depict, is of Amazon.com. If you showed interest in a certain product by adding it to your card, though maybe through casual browsing or even if you completed the purchase, the site begins to recommend similar or complimentary products. It may be in any form like “Users who bought this also bought this” and so on so forth. Towards the bottom of the page there is a section for ratings and customer testimonials. Yelp is one more example of a peer recommendation platform.

User-Curated Shopping

User-Curated Shopping

Curated content is here, and is here to stay for long. It has successfully increased its reach from music platforms like Spotify/Apple Music to eMagazines to Netflix, what else one needs. Personalized experiences are highly valued by customers and at the same time User-Curated Shopping is no different. Sites like Fancy, Lust and AhaLife, all of them consistently strive to offer unique shopping experience by displaying products/items that users will love – and all this is done through curating the content based on their tastes. This empowers users to shop while they have access to multiple eCommerce stores from a central starting point.

Participatory Commerce

Participatory Commerce

Participation in eCommerce has increased at an amazing pace over the past few years and has actually facilitated the creation of several products by users supporting and funding them directly. You may call it, or know it by the name of crowdfunding or crowdsourcing as it empowers users to become directly a part through voting, funding and collaboratively designing the products – at times. Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and Threadless may ring that bell in your minds.

Social Shopping + Social Network Driven Sales

Social Shopping + Social Network Driven Sales

Social Shopping is a mandatory means through which a platform tries to replicate real world shopping experiences – but online. This, they achieve with help of availability of chats, forums and commenting features to empower shoppers to receive guidance and opinions, about the products and services.

One thing to remember, that Social network driven sales involves two things. (1) Purchases made from shops through referrals on social media (2) Purchases that are made directly on the social media site itself. The concept has gained immense pace and the popularity and effectiveness is on the rise since.

Facebook & Social Commerce

Facebook & Social Commerce

Facebook was and is one of the most successful players to conceive the idea of connecting commerce and social media, though for a very short time. Back in 2012, they were the first to launch their Gifts Platform to allow users to give physical and digital presents to friends’ straight through the social network platform. The next year they replaced the strategy with digital codes to access gift cards, UBER vouchers, Digital music etc., while they also launched the Facebook Gift Card. Then came the phase where the ditched the entire concept of Facebook Gifts, instead they shifted their focus on their “buy button”, the one that allows users to buy products and services from businesses directly on Facebook. The button allows users to buy products without even leaving the site. In cases, if you have submitted your data on Facebook already, the site offered accurate Facebook ads for the user to see – select and purchase the services. Products placed, if are accurate and enticing, they could make conversions more convenient.

Pinterest & Social Commerce

Pinterest & Social Commerce

Pinterest happens to be one more social media network with strongest foundation in social commerce. This is one of those visual medium in which users are allowed to pin and post images of products and services, they like. The platform has gained real popularity for showcasing fashion and clothing and the users are allowed to pin their favorite outfits, brands and styles; and in return they are linked back to the seller’s site.

Pinterest did not miss out on the opportunity to incorporate a buy button on the pins – buyable pins as they call it. The entire process is strategically designed to allow users to buy products they love there and there itself on Pinterest, without visiting any of those external sites. It proves to be a very integrated experience, a blend of elements of social commerce and eCommerce.

Future of Social Commerce

Gradually, everyone is now agreeing to the fact that that traditional eCommerce has empowered a lot of brands to succeed over the years but, if I may say, social commerce is a sure shot way as it provides a streamlined online shopping experience. Social Commerce is simply taking the notions of convenience, user interest and social engagement to offer that optimized user experience that can directly drive sales for eCommerce business.

The coming years are more promising in terms of social commerce as the success and conversion from platforms including Facebook’s buy button and Pinterest’s Pins will be measured accurately for strategic planning. Simultaneously, it would be interesting to check out as to how other social media networks would potentially adopt social commerce tactics to have that competitive advantage. Social media and eCommerce both are highly influential, and a combination of both certainly will prove really lethal. This also indicates that its effectiveness might disrupt current means by a newer and more innovative approach.

What social channels are you currently using? Which one do you find to be the most successful?Are your websites and eCommerce mobile apps on Drupal, Joomla and Magento ready to reciprocate the need of this hour?

Feel free to comment in the box below to express your views and queries and we will be more than happy to assist you.

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One Comment

  1. Being active on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, has certainly helped in promoting our brand. Although we have not yet leveraged the power of apps, plenty of businesses have profited from this venture. Social e-commerce may be the future, but I believe in tying on- and offline campaigns for long-term success.

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