Although the term social commerce was first used way back in 2005 it has always been looked at as something for the future. Even though Facebook and Twitter have been used for buying and selling goods for some years the idea has never really caught on large-scale – but that is just about to change.
Buyers have been driving this by ‘liking’ or ‘tweeting’ what they have bought through social media and the sellers have been scratching their heads wondering how they can best take advantage of this. The experience of organisations like Gap has shown that is not just a case of taking their usual in-store or e-commerce approach and putting it onto social media platforms. The Brand’s global ‘Be Bright’ campaign was anchored with a new social hub site at the Styld.by URL. The site takes on the style of a blog but promotes the products through most social channels.
Converting ‘likes’ to sales
A whole new approach is required, one that is best exemplified by Pinterest, a social media site setup for retailers to interact with potential customers. By focusing on striking visuals and imagery it offers the ideal platform for lifestyle brands to reach out to customers. Successful retail users of this site have realised that by allowing a potential customer the ability to click through on a compelling image it is more likely to create a sale than just putting a complete catalogue online. We are pleased to highlight the good work by Plum Baby on setting up and running their own Pinterest board, it is gaining momentum quickly!
Pinterest is not alone; there is now a whole raft of tools as well as add-on functionality for businesses on sites like Facebook, so retailers need to be looking closely how best to engage. Even those retailers with extensive investment in ‘bricks and mortar’ stores, like Tesco, are testing the water. Tesco have just launched a social commerce wine site that allows buyers to club together to purchase wine at discounted prices.
The company driving the Tesco wine push is Buyapowa , they sum up the current business model as ” Your key distribution partners are used to buying at one price, retail customers at another. They are also used to having influence over your range where the general public are not. All that has changed – now your actual customers have the potential to become key distribution partners themselves.”
So what is in it for the end customer apart from spreading your products around their networks? Well buyapower say it more than that, “The buyer who brings in most other buyers gets their product free. So they do it again – and so the cycle continues”. A very powerful marketing tool indeed.
So, if you are in the retail space, start looking at social commerce now!