The Race For Social Commerce
Around 5 years ago I was heavily involved in the relatively new world of social advertising, managing CPA focused campaigns on Facebook’s primitive ad network. Around the same time, the digital world was getting excited about the huge potential of f-commerce. Simply speaking, Facebook was keen to get a slice of the online retail market by encouraging shops and retailers to create online stores within the Facebook platform. The concept never really caught on, but over the past few weeks we’ve seen a number of social networks quietly announce new ways in which to buy directly without moving off the site.
Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook have recently made changes to encourage users to splash the cash socially, yet strangely they’ve done this some what quietly. Social media is said to play a role in the decision making process of around 50% of online purchases, making the opportunities huge, but past mistakes and failures could mean that retailers are slow to adapt to the second coming of social commerce.
This second crack at the whip could be part of an emerging trend to negate the need for users to leave a social website. Back in May Facebook partnered with some big name publishers to allow articles to load in full within the app, meaning no waiting time while loading new sites. Recently Google and Twitter announced that they too would partner up to provide mobile users instant access to articles through an open source project. All of the social media giants are trying to keep users on their site for as long as possible, but whether people will be prepared to spend hard cash directly on sites like Facebook remains to be seen.
For now, expect to see bigger retailers and brands test the water with these new routes to market. A move into social commerce needs to be carefully planned and executed; get it wrong and you’ll waste a potentially sizable budget of time and money. Not every business or brand is going to sell well directly on social, so think about your social strategy as a whole and consider its impact on your selling process. Even if your customers aren’t going to buy direct from a social shop front, make sure that you are effectively communicating the information they need online.