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BizReport : Social Marketing : July 14, 2015

Expert: How social commerce differs from other ecommerce

Social commerce is beginning to pick up steam, but as one expert notes social is a different beast than either e- or m-commerce efforts. Here's what brands need to know:

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: How will social commerce be different than traditional e-commerce and mobile-commerce?

Mike Lapchick, ShotFarm: Social commerce is all about speed and convenience. Traditional digital commerce relies on making sure websites look good, scale, and are accurate. Social commerce relies on quickly communicating product information while making it as easy as possible for consumers to buy products.

Social commerce actually brings together e-commerce and m-commerce, while adding new ways to purchase products directly on social networks. It's another step in the evolution of retail. Often, the product page for a retailer in social commerce is the last step in the process. Consumers have read about the product via referrals, tweets, and posts and just want to buy the product once they get to the site. Retailers need to realize that social commerce is more reliant on consistent information than e-commerce and mobile commerce ever have been.

Kristina: What trends are you seeing in social commerce?

Mike: Until just recently, the extent of social network commerce was limited to referral traffic. Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter was the place for product reviews and sharing. Social platforms would direct consumers to the retailer's product page for detailed information and purchasing. Now, with the upcoming launch of "buy" buttons on Twitter and Facebook, consumers are going to have purchasing power right from the social network's site. I expect we are going to see retailers shift to a product sharing and exchange system that better enables them to communicate product information across multiple channels, from the manufacturer's supply chain to the retailer's website to social platforms.

Kristina: What challenges do retailers face with the addition of social commerce?

Mike: Retailers are going to struggle to integrate inventory and product information systems into social sites because most are still using complicated systems to make simple online sales. Syncing product catalogs and or management is going to be a challenge because "buy" button purchases are completed through separate payment and order management systems as opposed to posts that link directly to the merchant's website. Retailers and social media sites have to consistently update each other when a purchase is made and when product information changes unless there is a product content management system that streamlines this process.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: ecommerce trends, s-commerce, ShotFarm, social commerce, social marketing, social networks

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