From the earliest barter economies operating thousands of years ago to present day markets, the manner in which people exchange goods and services has always been in flux. As commerce continues to evolve, the decision-making process for consumers is increasingly affected by social considerations. Merchants are taking note and adapting to this trend. Social e-commerce will soon be the dominant approach to courting consumers. Basically a digital equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising, it's quickly spreading across the e-commerce landscape. Getting the most out of the new social web commerce paradigm requires businesses to understand the benefits and challenges that it presents.
What Is Social Commerce?
Simply put, social commerce is the use of social signals to direct marketing campaigns and assist consumers in making their buying decisions. Nowadays, information is more than plentiful on the web. E-commerce has shifted from an emphasis on raw data to a focus on the connections between buyers in recent years. User-generated content such as recommendations, peer reviews, ratings and the like are more important than ever. The ability to converse with fellow shoppers is integral to the e-commerce experience for many these days. This is most often accomplished through social networking sites and their associated mobile apps.
The Advantages & Benefits of Social
Incorporating a strong social element into e-commerce strategies has many benefits over non-social approaches. For one thing, studies strongly indicate that it makes a huge difference in the sales department. At least 70% of consumers trust recommendations made by friends and relations when shopping online. In addition, social media serves as a highly effective yet inexpensive form of advertising. Perceived customer service quality is also improved, boosting customer loyalty and repeat purchases. Finally, it can attract many more organic visitors by improving SEO. Ultimately, word-of-mouth advertising fostered by social media is the hottest ticket in e-commerce at the present time.
The Most Productive Social Tactics
Understanding the basic gist behind social commerce is one thing. Effectively leveraging social techniques is another ballgame altogether. The first and most important step in making use of social media to benefit e-commerce operations is to be as visible as possible. For the typical business, this means fielding accounts on all of the major social media sites that consumers use when shopping around. Beyond mere visibility, careful curation of the feedback accrued from social media portals is key to brand image management. Calculated social media PR directly impacts conversions across the board since consumers watch social media closely when buying online.
E-Commerce in a Social World
More and more, managing social image and interaction is critical to the success of businesses of all sizes on the web. Comprehensive social media management tools are becoming a necessity for overseeing the social side of the e-commerce equation. Aside from direct promotion, social e-commerce can yield a wealth of intelligence that can be used to bolster traffic and sales. The long-term impact of social e-commerce promotion is difficult to quantify but very real. Sooner or later, mastery of social media will become integral to the success of any company doing business online.