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Social eCommerce: Where Facebook and Amazon Missed Out

As the world continues to adapt to an increasingly digital existence, everyday experiences are becoming gradually augmented by technology.  Think about how the weekly market shopping stroll has been replicated through online browsing of eCommerce stores.

Prior to advertisements and marketing campaigns, people made purchases largely by depending on recommendations from trusted friends and families.  In today’s market, social media is ubiquitous and the opinions of friends and families in a social network have begun to garner more sway and influence than a million dollar outreach campaign.

As social media begins to intertwine itself with the eCommerce experience, it is likely for today’s consumers to return to an age where word of mouth outweighs paid sponsors and marketing campaigns.

Social Networking for Shoppers

It is old news that brands obtain value from social media use; updating Twitter and distributing Facebook offers is just the tip of the iceberg.  From influencers to psychographic profiles, social media has proven its value in terms of market research and demographic analysis.  By making a jump from simply using data produced by other social media networks to the creation of an entire niche shopping social network, as accomplished by Wanelo, customers and brands are in for a change.

Rather than actively search for great products by sifting through countless reviews and data driven ads and recommendations, shoppers can simply take heed of recommendations stemming from their trusted inner circle.  Rather than sift through galleries, product centric news feeds with recommended items from friends will help you shop for items you (most likely) will love.

Recommendations by People Not Cookies

Given that a significant portion of young people receive their news from social media, it is not surprising that such social networks play a direct influence on purchasing decisions.  In today’s social media driven lifestyle, retail giants are often powerless to compete with a close friend posting an update that berates their product.  If a shopper receives negative insight from a friend regarding your offering, the damage has already been done.

Rather than re-target consumers with obscure data regarding their interests, attitudes and preferences, depend on their friends recommendations to sell the product.  If brands focus on quality and differentiation, influencers can do the influencing and promotion while the brand focuses on creating distinct products that sell themselves.

Blogging Meets the Shopping Cart

Brands in all industries are learning that pursuing intimate and more personable relationships and communications with customers is the key to success. When feedback on review sites or your own corporate page can hamper sales, there is no reason to ignore the importance of direct connections with your consumer base. A fusion between blogging, micro-sites and eCommerce has emerged, subsequently dubbed ‘blog-commerce’.

Blog-commerce involves the creation of specific micro-sites with a laser focus on a specific product.  Not only does the tactic work well for visibility on search engines, but customers can delve into specific products, associated marketing campaigns and additional content.  Such direct and intimate interaction with a brand will result in increased conversions and sales.  Customers can visit the micro-site for a new product or watch documentary footage of behind the scenes promo shoots with the celebrity endorser.

Over the course of the last few years, differentiation and innovation have been tied to the success of countless technology companies and non-technology companies.  As eCommerce has evolved and brands seek new strategies for connecting to digital consumers, incorporating social eCommercepractices is a great place to start.