Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Social Commerce is one of the biggest things to happen in digital this year and certainly the biggest thing to happen to e-commerce. "If the first phase of e-commerce was the utilitarian hunt for staples, the next phase of e-commerce is about recreational shopping where the merger of social and interest graphs would drive buying decisions" says Om Malik, editor of GigaOm.
Social Commerce can be anything from embedding social plugins into an e-commerce site, allowing customers to pay with social currency, ie. Pay with a Tweet, or building an e-commerce store into Facebook, f-commerce. As the world's largest social network, Facebook presents an interesting opportunity to e-tailers around the globe.
Smart brands are starting to pay attention to who their most profitable customers are as well as who are their most socially influencial customers.We've known for some time now that people are influenced by what their friends are doing, and with the percentage of time people spend on social networks increasing everyday, f-commerce is an obvious next step for e-tailers.
But f-commerce involves more then just building your e-commerce site into Facebook. E-tailors looking to take advantage of social platforms need to tailor their offerings and customer experience to the specific platform. The New York Times recently published 7 tips for f-commerce sites. Their main argument is that f-commerce companies should engage users and incentivise them to buy with engaging content surrounding the offers, ie. on wall posts, as well as exclusive offers, one-time promo codes etc.
And while they have the attention of their audience, they would be silly not to ask them for feedback, encourage reviews and generally use the platform as a PR tool. If customers aren't doing this on their own, then brands should push them by promising rewards or greater deals.
Social media has already revolusionised the way companies market themselves. Brands have been doing so many great and creative things to engage their audience and maximise business. We are very eager to see what directions social commerce will take.