Bill Hartzer

How Online Commerce Is Becoming Inherently Social

As you load a website, the text you were looking for is surrounded by icon buttons, from Facebook to Pinterest. You can “like” or “recommend” posts, text and items at the click of a button. Although these benign entities lining almost any website seem harmless enough, they are part of a larger structure, referred to as social commerce. With traditional advertising barely lifting an eyebrow, businesses are looking for different ways to engage customers and increase profits. Although social commerce is still in its beginning stages, it is more prevalent today than last year. Take a look at some of the main ways top sites manoeuvre you to purchase an item:


Amazon

Opinions matter in this technologically-driven world. Look up almost any business on Amazon, and you will find a list of compliments and complaints. You can even gain some form of reward by sharing your insights through your social media account, including Facebook and Twitter.

Of all the major peer-reviewed sites, Amazon has a mixture of item suggestions and comment boxes that creates millions of dollars of commerce each day. Whether you place an item in a wish list or checkout cart, you get an instant listing at the bottom of your screen with similar items. This website uses its customers’ purchasing history to recommend items that complement your purchase. An item you never thought of before is now in your checkout cart. Social commerce has taken off, producing skyrocketing profits for websites that strive to keep recommendations bold on the page.


GO Mammoth

Retargeting is the new big thing in terms of digital marketing, and advertisers have been turbo charging their campaigns by using popular social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. GO Mammoth are one company that are taking advantage of the new Facebook ad platform Exchange (FBX). Retargeting means that users who visit a site are served a cookie, which ‘remembers’ where they have been. Then, when they are browsing other websites or social media sites they will be served ads relevant to the content they have looked at on the website.

So as an example, say you browsed the site and just visited the homepage, you might be served a generic ad about their services, or they might promote an offer to you. Visit a specific page however, for instance their Clapham Fitness Camp page, and they can advertise that specific ‘product’ to you again in the future. So you might be browsing Facebook and see a ‘Get Fit In Clapham’ advert which would promote their services. Retargeting is said to offer a significantly better ROI than traditional paid or display advertising services.


Groupon

Buying in bulk traditionally has its advantages in brick-and-mortar stores. For example, you pay for 100 diapers, instead of 20, and receive a significant discount off the individual price. Groupon, a group commerce site, uses this bulk idea to sell goods and services. A business offers a specific deal for a set duration. Visitors commit to the price, but there must be a minimum amount of buyers before the sale can be completed.

This bulk idea gains strength when visitors really want a deal. To ensure that the minimum is achieved, people go on their email and social media accounts to advertise the deal to their friends. Family and friends see the deal, and jump at the chance to receive a quality service or product. In this communication process, however, the deal receives free advertising. Comments may also be added, making the service or product more familiar in the marketplace and gaining new customers. Bulk deals pay off well for both customers and vendors.


Etsy

Reminiscent of a yard or garage sale, Etsy, a peer-to-peer shopping outlet, allows you to sell a product or service from one consumer to another. This process allows both parties to be safe when it comes to transactions and payments. Etsy ensures that the item is shipped and correct, while securing a safe monetary transaction.

Although this shopping experience appears to favour no product lines, each item is typically pictured and described for a fast sale. A favourite clothing designer is prominently displayed in the text to get consumers to click on the item. People want a fast and lucrative sale, so they will give brilliant reviews to the product they sell. In return, the item’s original manufacturer receives advertising. For example, a favourite plastic dinnerware set is sold, with many comments exchanged about its use and durability. Other consumers see the information, and run out to buy their own set. Advertising can be very subtle or obvious, but it is always there to harness new sales.

With so many websites creating social commerce, from Facebook to Amazon, it is difficult to quantify overall gains or losses. However, the outlook appears to be lucrative. Instant chats, forums, product endorsements, reviews and recommendations all culminate into potential sales. The key is to keep the item or service in the eyes of the public. Potential sellers need to keep this in mind as they look for innovative ways to gain customers. Starting a blog, building a community and utilising social network retargeting are just some of the ways to make a splash in the modern world. Take a look around the next website you visit, and note all of the sharing and recommendation options. The whole world is open to your product with strategic online marketing.

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