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.
It’s amazing to think that the number of mobile internet users looks set to surpass desktop users within the next four years.
Just take a look at the facts:
- 89% of theUKpopulation use a mobile phone [Source: Ofcom, October 2010]
- 54.3 million smart phones were sold in the first quarter of 2010 alone. [Source: Gartner, via AOP Digital Landscape Report, June 2010].
- 7.1 million people access the internet through a mobile phone [Source: Internet Monitor Survey, Kantar Media, September 2010]
- Smart phone usage in theUKis growing up to 70% faster than inEurope. [Source: comScore/GSMA MMM, via AOP Digital Landscape Report, June 2010].
These figures really show how much we’re in love with smart phones. And it’s easy to see why – as Claire discussed in her post last week –smart phones can be used anywhere and everywhere. The internet is available to your customers on the go and as long as you have a mobile website, your customers can find you while they are on the train, waiting for the bus, on their coffee break or even when they’re having their hair cut!
If potential customers can find your mobile site from their smartphone, they are more likely to choose you over your competitors. Because smartphones are great for sharing, your customers can also use their phone to share links to products with their friends via Facebook or Twitter – meaning that they can spread the word about your products for you!
Now is the time to get ahead of your competition by investing in a mobile website. These sites are specially designed for new smartphone technology, helping your company to tap into a lucrative audience of new customers that want access to your website when they’re on the go.
A mobile website is different to a regular website in both appearance and functionality. Mobile websites need to be much simpler than a conventional website in order to suit the mobile phone format. This means that there need to be fewer graphics (as these can take time to load) and less text so that your customers can access the information they need fast.
A mobile site also needs to be compatible with the different smartphones on the market and therefore needs to be coded in a clever way. If you find that your current website looks great on a desktop, but not so hot on a mobile, then it’s time to upgrade and get a mobile website that suits the purpose perfectly.
Make sure you are leading the way and contact eSterling today about your new mobile website by emailing us at email@example.com.
When your customers search using Google, it is possible for them to refine their search to shopping only results to help them find the products that they need. This is useful to consumers if they have a specific product in mind and they wish to compare prices between different retailers.
To try out Google shopping for yourself, simply click on “Shopping” at the top left of the Google home page and type in a product name (e.g ‘iPhone 4’). This directs you to the Google Product Search page and here you will find a list of products that are available to buy on the internet. These results can be sorted by category, price, brand and retailer – helping the user to locate exactly what they want quickly and easily.
If you have an e-commerce website, you will not want to miss the opportunity to get your products listed in the Google Shopping results. Making sure that your products appear in this search will help you attract new business and generate sales by helping your customers to find your site easily.
With the help of eSterling, it’s simple to submit a product feed to Google, as we can configure this to happen automatically from your e-commerce database. For further information about how to get your products listed in Google Shopping, please contact eSterling Limited by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
These days most of us have a mobile phone and increasingly we have smart phones, giving us easy, fast and reliable internet access everywhere we go. Whether we check our Facebook or Twitter accounts in bed, read the news headlines in our coffee break or order our Chinese takeaway on the train home, we’re thoroughly addicted.
And whether you find this trend an amazing experience, or an irritating nuisance it is doubtless a fantastic opportunity for businesses to increase their online sales. With a 24/7 internet culture which goes everywhere (and I mean everywhere – you’ve got to know at least one person who takes their smartphone into the smallest room) businesses can now reach their customers in the most unlikely of places.
To take advantage of this irritating/ exciting phenomenon, businesses are developing mobile versions of their existing web sites, specifically created to be easily navigable on a range of smart phones. By ironing out the bugs traditional sites can throw up on mobile devices, you can maintain customer interest and keep them browsing your site and buying your products wherever they may be.
Speak to your web development company today about creating a mobile version of your website, throw in some strategic online marketing and wait for the sales to roll in. Just don’t ask your customers where they were when they clicked to buy…