Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder): “If I had to guess, social commerce is the next area to really blow up”

The race is now on to monetise the network of relationships between people by tapping into the influence they wield over their friends’ purchasing decisions. Companies are looking to build social interaction into e-commerce; from group-buying sites through to product-recommendation services.

Transaction is now becoming more entwined with word of mouth communication. Social networks are turning products into conversations. Retail was in the last decade transformed by e-commerce. In this decade social media will transform e-commerce.

People thinking of ways to spend their money are often looking at what their friends – people they trust – have bought. The idea is that pressing the checkout button isn’t the end of purchasing online – there is another stage where you share what you’ve purchased with friends. Which, in this day and age, means sharing on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

But what exactly is Social Commerce? It is e-commerce that involves social media, supporting customer input and interaction to assist in the online buying and selling of services and products. This includes adding features to your website such as ratings and reviews, social media integration and marketing through Facebook and Twitter, forums and communities, sharing and referral buttons, support for social shopping features and mobile based applications that link into your site.

Involving customers means increased engagement. Sites that have added social shopping features have reported sales increases of up to 50%.

Research has shown that just by adding customer driven ratings and reviews, traffic volume and order value can be boosted up to 25%. On-site customer reviews need to be distinct from external review sites, which have not shown as much impact. Believe it or not, negative reviews have little to no impact on sales.

Endorsements by friends show double the conversion rates but you need to influence the right people. The efficiencies and scale of the social internet can change retail or service businesses overnight.

How do you tap into this ?

You need a strategy for engaging your customers.
You need a strategy for targeting the right people.
You need a strategy for building trust in your company.

Talk to eSterling about building a social commerce presence. Either through social network marketing, integrating with Facebook, or even adding a distinct social presence into your site build.

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