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Social Commerce – The Next Big Thing is Already Here

6 September 2013
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“If I had to guess, Social Commerce is next to blow up”Mark Zuckerberg

The newest of online retail marketing strategies, Social Commerce, integrates itself deep within today’s social web to drive sales through its micro-niche target audience. Marketing expert, Heidi Cohen, plainly describes it as “Social Media meets shopping”.  A recent Gartner survey exposed that 74% of customers rely on social networks to guide their purchases. The key to a successful social commerce strategy includes knowhow of converting a like, pin, tweet or retweet into a sale; hence tapping into that 74%.

Early innovators have been quick to jump on board after identifying today’s cultural need to engrain social into quotidian life. Zmags recorded that 63% of online shoppers plan to use online catalogs and 35% said they plan to use Pinterest to guide them to make purchases. It is therefore no surprise that networks like Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest are now goldmines for visual forms social commerce.

The Social Hanger, as seen above, is a result of today’s society of millennials who foster word of mouth. The hanger, which tallies the amount of Facebook ‘likes’ assigned to that piece of clothing, marries groupthink with real world decision making. Other innovate practices include that of the platform Chirpify which leverages social as a point of conversion for multi-channel marketing campaigns. Elsewhere, Little Black Bag enables its users to exchange new purses with each other within the community. The newly introduced strategy is such that by 2015, revenues from Social Commerce are expected to reach $30 billion – Yes, $30 billion!

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet – Social Commerce is still in its infancy. We are seeing social networks start to adapt and innovate around its concept as a recent Facebook press release illustrated its plan for a PayPal-like app, Facebook Payment, to incorporate into its interface; bringing transactions to the website and ameliorating the measurability of social ROI. A recent study, however, illustrated that 55% of participants are reluctant to give their credit card details to a social network – and with the latest Facebook hacker who left an amusing post on Mark Zuckerberg’s wall, who can blame them? The golden rule of e-Commerce revolves around the concept that the purchase is made effortless and easy – one issue, which could potentially face social commerce, is the amount of intermediaries within that process.

The future remains to be seen for Social Commerce – however at this rate, it won’t be long before it is incorporated into all facets of the retail and online retail market.

Will Social Commerce instill itself into our social interfaces? – If so, how long will it take?

About Leon McLean

Leon McLean is a Project Manager and Trainer at SayItSocial, focusing on digital marketing strategy and project development as well as live, virtual and eLearning training initiatives. Please connect with Leon on... Google +

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