By Gina Rau | Posted on January 21, 2013
Looking forward to the growth projections for ecommerce, there’s no doubt that online sales will continue to grow as more consumers jump on their laptops, mobile phones and tablets to make purchases. In fact Forrester Research expects online sales growth to rise 45% to $327 billion and account for 9% of overall sales by 2016.
At the same time, social media is continuing to impact retail in a variety of ways. Sprout Social says that 74% of people rely on social networks to guide a purchase decision – and I’m not surprised. With word-of-mouth marketing becoming an increasingly important consideration for retailers, ecommerce and marketing teams must work together in order to ensure the strategies and programs are in place to impact social references.
The rise of online sales and the growing importance of social media collide to create a significant opportunity for retailers over the upcoming years. Many innovative retailers have discovered that social commerce is what happens on their own website when they integrate social elements like social login, social sharing or the ability to shop with friends into their existing online shopping experience. The future of social commerce lies within leveraging the popularity of social networks to grow sales at the retailer’s own site.
Take a look at three examples of retailers doing this well and what they’re doing.
Shoppers most often turn to consumer reviews when it comes to seeking information on product performance and quality before they buy, so presenting authentic user-generated reviews on product pages provides an opportunity to increase purchase conversion. People want to know what other people’s real-life experience with the product has been like, and whether they’d recommend it to a friend.
A recent study by Weber Shandwick reveals that the most influential reviews include key elements: they seem fair and reasonable, are well written, and contain product specifications and technical data. When you have all these elements of good reviews, a best practice is to highlight the very best like Samsung does.
UGG is doing a great job of focusing on the shopper’s checkout experience and removing obstacles that could possibly interfere with a purchase. They know that 86% of consumers admit to leaving a website when faced with a registration form so they also offer social login as a means to create an account while expediting the checkout process. Shoppers can choose to use their Facebook, Google or Yahoo! profile to pre populate some of the required fields and bypass those hurdles.
And if shoppers leave the site before purchasing those boots, UGG sends them an email reminder. With social login, UGG collects a verified email address to use in remarketing efforts. One click from this email and the shopper is back at their cart, ready to checkout with those boots.
Shopping is a social experience, and one of the main reasons is that we like to ask our friend’s for their opinion on our purchases. Macy’s gives online shoppers tools to get that type of feedback on products from their friends using a polling widget on their site.
From any product page, shoppers can create a poll by adding a few products that they’re interested in to the tool. Once the poll is created, the shopper shares it directly to their Timeline for friends to see, along with a message asking for their opinion by voting for a product.
48 hours later, the shopper has input from her friends on products that she’s interested in, and Macy’s has earned impressions from her friends by tapping into the shopper’s social graph.
When you look at commerce leaders today and those making the headlines, many are being recognized for demonstrating innovation in these key areas and responding to shopper’s expectations for a more social experience when shopping online. These retailers are finding that the technology exists to not just offer a consistent brand experience online but to truly take the online shopping experience to a whole new level.
What innovative examples have you seen where retailers integrate social elements into their online shopping experience?
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