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.

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