What is driving the growth in social commerce?

Social commerce continues to see tremendous growth, with the majority of businesses implementing social commerce initiatives. These vary from experimentation with the addition of simple social sharing buttons on their existing e-commerce store, through to fully fledged stores hosted within Facebook. In addition, the majority of those businesses who do not yet have a social commerce strategy are considering establishing one.

Shopping is an inherently social activity. People seek out recommendations for products and services, share their favourite brands, and regularly undertake shopping trips with friends and family. This activity is increasingly carried out online, specifically within social networks. Businesses are understandably excited about the opportunity that these social interactions provide.

There is a wealth of data insights that point to the potential of social commerce. Some of the observations and trends that are driving the continued growth of social commerce are:

  • The continued growth of social media as a channel, both in terms of the number of people participating, and the amount of time devoted to social media by Internet users makes it an extremely attractive channel.
  • People report that recommendations from friends and family, and even from strangers are far more influential than advertising in their decisions about which products to purchase.
  • The reason cited by consumers for connecting with a brand on Facebook is for discounts/deals, so merchants and brands providing access to products and the latest deals within Facebook makes sense.
  • The majority of people use two or more sources of product information before purchasing. Having a social commerce presence provides an additional channel to capture those consumers that are engaging in product search.

Another reason that social commerce is growing is that it is now easier and more affordable than ever to provide a rich social commerce experience. With the Wishpond GoSocial Store solution, businesses are able to expose their entire product catalogue to their Facebook fans with less than an hours work. They can import hundreds of products automatically from their existing e-commerce website, Shopify, Google Merchant Center, eBay, QuickBooks, or even their Retail Pro retail management system. For those that don’t have their data in electronic form, they can easily add products manually with a handy utility that auto-fills all the product information for the retailer. Their product inventory is kept up to date with the external source automatically, meaning that their Facebook store does not require ongoing management.

Many merchants are taking advantage of this lower barrier to entry by creating and experimenting with a Facebook store.

Two great examples of businesses who have implemented the Wishpond GoSocial Store solution are UrShuz, an innovative shoe brand, and Salt Life, a lifestyle clothing brand. They are both using Facebook to drive traffic back to their e-commerce sites. Their fans are sharing and discussing their products with friends, driving interaction with the brand on Facebook. Both have implemented the ‘fan-gating’ feature, which requires users to like their page before being shown exclusive content or deals within the store giving users a reason to like their page.

While it is too soon to draw concrete conclusions from their efforts, preliminary results look promising. Both have experienced a significant growth in fans, and an increase in the level of engagement and interaction with their fan pages.

Time spent on social networks and the amount of information shared during this time is showing few signs of slowing. At the same time the social commerce tool box is increasingly effective as we learn through experimentation. Together, these things mean we are unlikely to see social commerce growth slow any time soon. If your brand is one of those who has yet to begin testing integrated social commerce solutions there has been no better time to GoSocial with your own Facebook storefront than right now.

This guest article was written by Duncan Blair, Director of Marketing at Wishpond.

About Wishpond
Wishpond is a local shopping platform which helps online shoppers find the products they want from retailers near them. Wishpond.com is one of the largest local shopping sites with over 17 million product listings from small, medium and national retailers. Wishpond also helps retailers and brands publish their product inventory in the places where customers are looking, like Facebook, through their GoSocial Store solution.

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