People love to do online shopping with their friends. 230 million Twitter users, 1.23 billion Facebook users, 25 million pinterest users, 1 billion youtube visitors, 1 out of 4 people is a social media user and today 74% of the purchase decisions in retail industry are made by the influence of social media recommendations. The new buzz term is ‘social shopping’.
Retail has entered a new phase. Product discovery and purchase decision are through the collective effort of social intelligence. It is hi-time to transform e-commerce into social commerce where every sale is socialized. The key element of social commerce is ‘social reference’. It is a broad term. Simply it means shoppers consult social networks, before they make a purchase. People look for facebook likes, personalized recommendations, tweets about the product, youtube video and comments, pintertest and instagram style product images and newsfeeds, images of product users in google ads, celebrity tweets about the products before they buy it. Peer-to-peer recommendation give them a confidence to buy.
Characteristics of a popular social commerce sites
Instead of a passive ecommerce website, a social commerce website is a dynamic window shop with enormous social network assistance in buying and selling of products online. Here customer can freely dialogue with their co-shoppers, ask opinions, make comparisons, check reviews, make recommendations, inform their network about the purchased product.
In social commerce site customers turn into advisers, recommenders and sales people.
Functions and features of the shop can be fully integrated to Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus and can login using users facebook/google/twitter account.
Displays Pinterest and Instagram style HD images & newsfeeds
Allows brands and customers to sell/buy products within a hashtag tweet
While purchasing, You can chat with your friends about a product, ask their opinion
Sales driven by referrals from established social networks like facebook
Sites that aggregate product or service reviews, recommend products based on others’ purchasing history
Reward individuals for sharing products and purchases with friends through social networks.
Embedded with pinit, Likeit and similar Social sharing tools
You can rate recommendation & review products
Have forums and communities for discussions about products
Why a social commerce site is relevant today?
1. Huge volume of social media users and social buyers: 30% of the total world population are social media users and 42% of these users depend only on social media for product research.
2. The demand for social login: Functions and features of the shop can be fully integrated to Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus and can login using users facebook/google/twitter account. Traditional E-commerce sites can be a headache for consumers, who are averse to lengthy registration forms and may provide inaccurate information if asked to complete them. Social login is a viable solution
3. More economical: You can capture the market share easily in a crowded industry without a full page banner ad or an expensive national television advertisement.
4. More exposure & minimum capital: You can expose your products to millions of potential customers at a minimum capital.
5. Viral mouth to mouth publicity: Mouth to mouth publicity always works and social commerce sites serves the purpose of electronic mouth to mouth publicity.
6. Power of peer-to-peer interaction: Recommendations from friends play a powerful role in your shopping choice.
7. A personalized digital experience: People want personalized digital experience every time they look for a brand or a product. A well-made social commerce site will present content instantly.
8. People want to brag about their purchase : People always look for what their friends buy and social media plays a huge role in giving this information. Everyone tweets, updates status, brags about the product they bought, put recommendation or sometimes a user experience video after they buy something. New generation want to scream from mountain top about the valuable products they bought. It is the quest for recognition.
9. Reap SEO advantage: You will get the advantage of user generated content in your social commerce site: 25-35% of traffic to large e-commerce sites is organic search, and Google favors fresh content, often user-generated, in its results.
10. Social commerce is the present, not future: In 2014, more than $278 billion value of transactions will be through referrals from social networks and will go upto $304 billion by 2015. Everything is going to integrate with a social layer, you have to adapt with the change.
Don’t depend solely on ad word campaigns, cookie driven advertising and traditional advertising methods. Say goodby to your e-commerce site and grab a social commerce site, a great weapon to increase engagement. The potential of social commerce site is infinite. Social commerce market is growing faster than anything. Anyone can own a social commerce site. Try to early position yourself is an urgent need.