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BizReport : Social Marketing : September 14, 2015

Expert: How social is changing ecommerce

Social networking has taken over the world and it just might take over ecommerce. One expert weighs in how the role social plays for retailers and what the future could hold.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: What role is social currently playing in e-commerce?

Mike Rowland, Director, Customer Experience Practice, West Monroe Partners: For most companies offering e-commerce, social plays mostly an awareness role. For example, using social to promote a product during a buying season such as back to school is prevalent and almost expected by followers.

Kristina: How do you expect social commerce to change over the coming year?

Mike: In the context of companies using social media mostly as an awareness tool, there is a lot that can be done to improve the customer experience beyond awareness. We are seeing companies test Flash Sales to reduce inventory, promote shareable coupons, and common cause commerce (Buy X today and we'll donate 5% to ABC charity). More advanced companies are using data from both their e-commerce and their social presence to build better offerings for each platform's audience rather than simply syndicating the same offer on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. I would expect that over the coming year, more e-commerce companies will experiment in these areas and learn the best methods to sell using social.

Kristina: In your opinion, why have consumers been slow to pick up social commerce when they've - in many cases - jumped right onto both the e-commerce and m-commerce wagons?

Mike: Consumers haven't adopted social commerce as quickly because quite frankly, the brands using it are not breaking through the clutter to entice consumers to purchase. Too often consumers do not have to respond to a commerce opportunity on social channels because it is available everywhere. Until brands begin to offer unique differentiated customer experiences in their social feeds, there is no need by the consumer to respond. Social commerce offers which are compelling, differentiated to the audience, and time sensitive will help change consumer behavior. Unfortunately, too many brands believe that the key to social commerce is to plaster the same offer on all their channels and repeat it multiple times. The reality of that approach is that consumers will tune out your message as it is more social clutter.

More from West Monroe Partners later this week, including the top 3 tips to implement a strong social commerce strategy.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: ecommerce trends, social commerce, social marketing, social strategy, West Monroe Partners

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