The Intersection of Social Media and eCommerce

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By Vlad Vidaeff

For the majority of retailers, e-commerce makes up a significant portion of a company’s sales.  Consumers love the convenience and ease of purchasing products from their homes.  We have seen the rise of Cyber Monday.  We have seen the popularity of Amazon and other online retailers.  This blog will explore the growing impact of social media on e-commerce.

When social media first came around, some critics did not understand the value of companies getting involved in the arena.  However, as time progressed, the impact of social media in marketing is unquestioned.  Social media helps increase your brand awareness, serves as a public relations tool, and functions as a platform for customer service among other benefits.  A particularly significant trend we have seen is the growing impact of social media in driving sales.  In 2014, the top 500 retailers earned $3.3 billion from social media shopping—a 26% increase compared to 2013.  During the same period, eCommerce grew at a 16% growth rate.  Social media platforms have capitalized on this trend by adding features to make social media shopping, or social commerce, easier for consumers.

In 2015, Pinterest introduced the ‘Buy it’ button.  Buyable Pins allow you to buy products on Pinterest without ever leaving the app.  Spotting Buyable Pins is easy as they are highlighted in blue, in contrast to the red ‘Pin it’ button.  At the moment, Pinterest has full integration with retailers such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Nordstroms as well as platforms such as Shopify and demandware.  Pinterest plans to expand its buy button program to include companies that uses software from IBM Commerce, Magento, and Bigcommerce.  Since Pinterest does not take a cut of your sales, it’s really a no-brainer for retailers who use any of the aforementioned services.  As of October 2015, there were more than 60 million Buyable Pins on Pinterest.  As Pinterest expands access to Buyable Pins in the future, this number will continue to steadily rise.

Instagram continues to gain steam as a social media network and introduced its Instagram Partner Program for business users in 2015.  Instagram Partners are a group of 40 partners who help businesses grow on the network.  Key areas of expertise include the following three areas: 1) ad tech (manage and buy advertisements at scale); 2) community management (manage comments and get key audience insights); and 3) content marketing (aid sourcing and delivering creative content).  Through targeted ads, social media brings increased traffic to your website.

Last but certainly not least, Facebook continues to innovate.  The world’s leading social media platform added a “Call to Action” button in 2015 which is featured prominently on a business page.  For retailers, you have the opportunity to link the ‘Call to Action’ button directly to your website by adding the ‘Shop Now’ button.  When fans click the button off of your Facebook page, they are automatically redirected to your website.  Additionally, during the holiday shopping season, Facebook introduced a new targeting advertising program that lets you target users who are highly engaged with shopping.  Through the program, you can focus on attractive users with targeted Cyber Monday or other holiday ads.

In a few short weeks, 2016 will arrive.  Social media is already driving much larger increases in retail traffic than any other online channel.  The impact of social commerce will continue to grow substantially once the New Year rolls around. Ensure you have a diversified approach that includes several social media platforms in your marketing arsenal.  If we can help you achieve your marketing objectives and exceed your sales expectations, reach out to us at [email protected]


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