Thursday, March 7, 2013

Will Social Commerce Prove To Be Profitable?

There has been a great deal of skepticism in the past about whether social sharing can actually bring in revenue. While most people primarily see social media as a platform for networking and sharing, many businesses are realizing the potential for profitable leads and conversions.
What is the future of social commerce?

The future is looking bright for eCommerce businesses looking to increase revenue via social media. Social commerce sales are expected to rise, bringing in $30 billion per year by 2015, according to Mashable.

While most users do not view social media as a preferred outlet to purchase items from, it still has the potential to drive conversions. Social media sites now serve as platforms for companies to showcase products and services, enabling users to discover trends, gather product information, customer reviews and more, enticing them to click through to a website to make purchases.

What influences online shoppers?

According to Business Daily News, the primary benefits shoppers experience with social sharing is product discovery - helping companies uncover a consumer's need for a new product. Once customers are interested in a product, they can search reviews, see who has bought what, and make a purchasing decision based on their findings.

Word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to drive a sale. According to a study by Forbes, 81% of respondents indicated that friends' social media posts directly influenced their purchase decision.

Find Which Social Site Fits You Best

Success with social commerce may vary between industries. Here are a few social sites that most companies (regardless of the industry) can benefit from:
  • Twitter - Twitter allows for companies to promote products, discounts, blog posts and other information about a company to encourage followers to retweet or click through for more information. Posting once or twice per day is enough to stay in front of followers.
  • Facebook - According to Social Media Today, 77% of B2C companies and 43% of B2B companies acquired customers from Facebook. Use you Facebook page as a showcase for your products, posting special offers and photos of your products, encouraging your fans to interact with your brand and share your content with peers. 
  • Pinterest - Pinterest serves as a valuable tool for companies who have visually-appealing products (Fashion, Food, etc.). Pinterest shares your products/images among all types of consumers and allows for considerable sharing and click-through rates. According to unbounce, Pinterest generates over four times as much revenue per click as Twitter and 27% more than Facebook.
Social influence plays a large role in customer purchase while social media continues to be a cost-effective tool to enable it. What better way to promote your brand than by letting your customers do it for you?

by Samantha Warner
Marketing Extraordinaire