Thursday, July 31, 2014

Integrating eCommerce and Social Media has Big Benefits for Online Retailers

Finding new ways to add functionality to eCommerce sites is typically an effective way to improve online sales. There is now an array of tools and apps that eCommerce site owners can use to integrate social shopping features on their sites, turning the site into a variation on Pinterest. Alternatively, site owners can link their retail sites with Facebook for even more functionality.
Facebook and the Phenomenon of Social Shopping
There are now apps that business owners can use to advertise products directly on the business’s Facebook page—everything from loan products or loan comparison tools, to retail fashions, makeup, and other personal products. So far such apps are proving particularly popular for businesses selling clothing, beauty products, and health and wellness products, which lend themselves particularly well to “social shopping”—the eCommerce phenomenon in which shoppers involve their friends in the shopping experience by virtue of likes, shares, and comments that show up in the newsfeeds of people whose friends purchase products. This, combined with other aspects of social shopping, give it huge potential for improving online sales.
The social shopping aspect alone is one huge reason why it’s beneficial for eCommerce sites to integrate Facebook apps. If your retail site supports Facebook, people who sign up can see purchases made by people on their friends list, which at once is a powerful incentive to purchase the same products, or other ones. As well as this, integrating Facebook has the additional advantage of making it easier for new customers to sign up to a retail site and start shopping immediately, without having to create a new account. The process of creating a new account can be enough of a time-waster that people get deterred from signing up and making purchases on retail sites that are new to them, and anything that makes this process faster and easier has the potential to increase sales significantly.
Integrating Pinterest-like Functionality into an eCommerce Site
Another effective aspect of social shopping is the functionality that turns an eCommerce site into something that resembles a Pinterest board. People using the site can add products to a wish list, mark likes and favourites, and recommend products to other users. Everyone who uses the site can see what the most popular items are, and individual users can see when someone they’re following makes recommendations, too, which adds a layer of credibility that creates a powerful incentive to purchase recommended items.
Another way to take advantage of this kind of functionality is to integrate with large social shopping sites like Kaboodle. Sites that are dedicated to social shopping reach a huge number of people, due to the large range of products that users can view, and the array of functionality that the sites provide, such as the ability to create wish lists, style boards, and create and participate in polls. Kaboodle and other such sites typically allow the user to sign in which Facebook, which provides additional features and advantages.
What are the Benefits to Retailers?
Adding social shopping features to an eCommerce site—even something as simple as the ability to share individual products on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest—can increase sales directly, but there are other potential advantages of social shopping.
For example, algorithms that track a customer’s purchases and integrate that data with their activity on social networking sites can more accurately predict what the user is likely to buy in the future, and make recommendations accordingly. Many sites now include features that allow users to see what other people have bought, and when someone is looking at a particular product, they are also shown not only related products, but also products bought by people who purchased the original item. Instead of going shopping with friends, people can now shop with hundreds or thousands of other people, and this creates a very powerful social incentive to buy.
Brian Honigman. “6 Effective Waysto Integrate Social Media with Your E-Commerce Website.” Accessed June 30, 2014. In SumAll Salon, Social Media Edition.
Compare. “Compare Loans.” Accessed June 30, 2014. Online tool for loan comparison.
Digital Strategy Consulting. “Online retail trends of 2013 - The search for shopping’s ‘missing link’.” Accessed June 30, 2014. What works and doesn’t work in eCommerce.
Easy Social Shop. “Make Facebook work for your Online Business.” Accessed June 30, 2014. App for business owners using social shopping.
Entrepreneur. “The Power of Social Shopping Networks.” Accessed June 30, 2014. Advantages of integrating social shopping capability.
Freshminds. “How Online Retailers can Benefit from Social Shopping.” Accessed June 30, 2014. Reasons to integrate social shopping features.
Kaboodle. Accessed June 30, 2014. Social shopping website.
Shopify Facebook. “Sell your Products Directly through Facebook.” Accessed June 30, 2014. Social shopping tool for use with Facebook.
The Daily Egg. “Top 7 Facebook eCommerce Apps for Businesses.” Accessed June 30, 2014. Engaging customers on Facebook as well as eCommerce sites.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why Australia is the hotspot for Internet enabled trade

Despite the tyranny of distance, the high Australian dollar, and our reliance on natural resources – Australia is in the box seat for Internet enabled trade.

--> Coinciding with the G20 Trade Ministers meeting taking place in Sydney later this week on July 19, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) today released a new report revealing Australia is ranked first among G20 countries for e-Trade readiness.

The EIU analysed five factors that contributed to a country’s e-trade readiness - investment climate, Internet environment, international trading environment, regulatory and legal framework, and epayments environment.

Australia has emerged on top of the rankings, followed closely by the US, South Korea, UK, and Japan. Affordable Internet access, a well-developed regulatory framework for commerce, high usage of epayments and high smartphone penetration has created an environment conducive to global e-trade.

Australians have been quick to adopt new technologies that help simplify their everyday lives, with mobile driving deep behaviour change and transforming the way consumers connect with businesses.

Transactions on mobile devices for now accounts for more than 40 percent. Three years ago, only 1 in 100 transactions via PayPal was on a mobile device; today, this has skyrocketed to 1 in 3.

No longer isolated by distance, Australians have also been quick to tap into the ease and convenience of online shopping. According to Euromonitor International, Internet retailing is expected to grow 17% in Australia between 2013 and 2018.

There is a huge opportunity for Australian businesses to embrace the benefits of global e-trade. The Internet is leveling the playing field for retailers and enterprises of all sizes, and enabling them to reach global markets.

According to PayPal’s Modern Spice Routes report, cross-border online shopping in Australia is expected to increase 300% in five years - from $5billion in 2013 to $16 billion by 2018.

eBay sellers are already prolific exporters, with around 80% of commercial eBay sellers (sales of AUD $10,000 or more) exporting to global markets, compared to only 3% for companies operating offline. That figure increases to 97% when eBay Australian retailers generate more than AUD $100,000 sales per year.
eBay Australian exporters who sell more than AUD$10,000 a year, export to an average to 28 destinations.

While careful attention must be paid balancing prudent regulation and openness to innovation and trade, we need to continue to lower the barriers for trade and create an atmosphere that allows all Australian businesses to benefit from the cross-border trade opportunity.
Director of Public Policy, Asia-Pacific at eBay Inc

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My best decision was booking Vinh Giang

My best decision of the conference was booking Vinh Giang as a keynote speaker this year. On a personal level he hit the mark. Our survey data confirmed the same.  In my job of looking after the content of the conference which includes placing 80+ speakers, I make it my business to attend (at least) one conference a month. I get to see some of the best. In May at Magento Imagine in Las Vegas (one of the best conferences to attend) I had the pleasure of listening to a keynote from the great Malcolm Gladwell.  They don’t come much better than Gladwell.  If I could only spend everyday with a speakers like Malcolm…

The most enjoyable part of my job is listening to greatness. The best part: Delivering greatness by picking someone like Vinh Giang to deliver a keynote. If I have any skill above others, it is the ability to find the best people.
I thank Vinh for raising the bar.

I do make this prediction: Vinh Giang will be famous and will help many in his path.   I look forward to witnessing his journey.

Thanks Vinh for one of the best keynotes that I have ever seen.