With the current dominance of social media, it was only a matter of time before brands, retailers and companies tried to make money from them, adopting their functions to the tools. Providing the missing link between the great access, the offers and the convenience of electronic commerce with the inherently social experiences of real-life shopping, was a social revolution predicted by many experts from around the world. This is highlighted by Caroline Parry, acting editor of UTalkMarketing in one of his articles as a preview of the upcoming ‘Expo Marketing Innovation’ to be held in London on April 7th.
Allan Blair , director of DDB Spain believes that social commerce will reach maturity online retail. He explains that “for years, online retailers have focused on allowing consumers easy access to find difficult products, cheap flights or mass-produced items. However, the market is saturated with identical stores offering the same products for the same price. The small brands have realized that they need to differentiate to attract consumers to their offer. ”
Social commerce is an incipient market with only a handful of companies and brands pushing forward. Those who do it well understand that social commerce will take them from online shopping to a new stage, opening new sources of income, especially m-commerce.
Meanwhile, there will be many failures as successes in the first steps of social commerce, where Facebook is expected to play a very important role and more when its membership base continues to grow. In fact, Facebook stores, also known as f-commerce, are inclined as a trend in themselves.
Steve Jarrett , Director of the MePlease Agency explains that “Facebook is clearly the one to see here. The extent to which you know who you are and who your friends are dramatically improves the relevance of the recommendations over time. ”
With this in mind it is essential that brands understand the difference between creating something that is truly social, and therefore shareable, just by pushing e-commerce through social channels.
Tim Pritchard , Director of Manning Gottlieb OMD notes that “with all the current noise around social commerce, many companies are jumping full without understanding what social purchases, or true social commerce.” “It is important to distinguish the difference between selling products through a store that is on Facebook and the sale of products through the Facebook workshop, which allows its users to seek comments, opinions and even the approval of their friends before the purchase. ”
For many industry experts, including Blair, the online retailer Asos is perhaps the most established and successful brand in both social commerce and Facebook. “Their CRM strategy encourages customers to buy their items, share what they have bought, share photos of everyone who carries it.” “He has been prudent not to limit himself to the website.”
“The most interesting thing is that he has opened a store on Facebook that allows customers to search, buy and share without even having to leave the social network.”
Rufus Evison , Director of Starfish 360, commented that it is premature to talk about trends in this developing space, however, he admits that it allows people to access the internet while stores have touched a sensitive fiber of consumers.
He explains it like this: “If you are talking about people putting QR codes in their income they will take you to a review page or something that allows you to ask your friends, via Facebook or Twitter, about a product before doing the purchase, it is very likely that it will end up becoming a trend since it is firmly established in the behavior of the customers “.
Taking the idea of sharing with friends and family is going a step beyond the social shopping cart, which personalizes the experience from the first step. Instead of receiving the same generic home page as everyone else, each user would have one based on purchases, likes and recommendations from friends. “As consumers, we like to feel in control of those products and services that we buy,” explained Nick Ellsom , PHD’s Chief.
Similarly, personalized recommendations that offer ideas based on their social interactions, which retailers could access by offering Facebook Connect or similar users, allow a site to connect to social networks. “Facebook Connect is the key trend,” says John Barton , Director of Steak Media. “Levi’s was one of the first to take advantage of this, allowing consumers to search for products based on their popularity.”
Anyway, social income like Facebook Connect is expected to cause controversy when it allows brands to get too close to comfort. The line is very thin between the useful recommendations, the personal ones and the invasion of privacy and this is the great challenge to be overcome in social commerce.
For Steve Jarrett , (MePlease) the key is respect towards consumers, taking into account that they are contributing a lot of confidential information. “With the social movement, the mobile and its spaces, consumers must maintain control of everything and this is what will create brand advocates.”
Rewarding consumers for social interactions is one of the great alternatives to retain them. This is what Boden does, which, among other things, offers lunches with the CEO of the company, gifts and diverse prizes such as recipes, based more on experiences. This is done with the BeAddictive platform, achieving a high brand reputation because it allows its users to obtain points that can be exchanged for products or services.