Social Commerce

April 26th, 2012 by Caitlin Rose

I love to shop. I don’t mean just going to the mall shopping, I mean I will buy anything. Anywhere. I am a retailers dream. Ironic because I’m in the marketing industry and I’ve read Freakonomics. But I’m still a sucker.

I also love Facebook. Come on, what 20-something girl doesn’t? Heck, my mom loves Facebook. So wouldn’t that make me the ideal target for social commerce? My two (almost) favorite things in one place? So far, I haven’t bought anything on Facebook and I don’t plan to unless something pivotal changes.

When Allison Bradley, our Director of Client Leadership, wrote an article about social commerce in Multichannel Merchant, I began to think of myself and my purchasing habits. Why I buy things where I buy them and what triggers me to swipe my card. Then I thought of why I like Facebook and what I use it for. Although I whine and complain about the changes made since Facebook first came to fruition, I still log on daily and am attracted to retailers pages offering me a discount or information about their next big in-store event for ‘liking.’ So why am I so turned off by making a purchase?

Bradley highlights some very valid observations of how retailers can better utilize social commerce on Facebook to make users, like me, click ‘buy’. Facebook is a social platform and in order for retailers to get users to make a purchase, they must make the act inherently social by providing a product that they can share with their friends.

In my opinion, social commerce on Facebook shows some promise. I’m not in love with the idea of selling items on Facebook, but if a company gives me enough reason to buy, I always give in.

A good example of a social site that retailers have begun to utilize effectively for social commerce is Pinterest. As a user, I am sharing products that I like, or think are cool, with my friends and other users interested in the same categorized subject. Before I know it, I’m on a retailer’s site purchasing the iPhone cover my roommate pinned or the skirt the blogger on Pinterest was wearing. Companies are beginning to see the value in nonintrusively marketing their products on Pinterest in order to generate social buzz and ultimately lead users to purchase.

If retailers begin to tap into the reasons consumers use social websites and then seamlessly integrate the sale of their products without making the user feel like they are online shopping, social commerce will become successful.


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