When companies started to roll out e-commerce shops to ride the coat tails of the ground-breaking online shopping revolution all of our marketing efforts were put into pointing people to the relevant websites.
The quality of the user experience varied massively, both in the way we located the products we wanted to buy and the methods in which the transactions were completed. Some companies got it right from day one, many did not.
Now that we are fifteen years into buying online we still see some disparity in the quality of e-commerce transactions but companies are catching up. But could they be too late?
The next big jump is Social Media Shopping
Facebook’s Zuckerberg and Co. are never slow to miss a revenue grabbing opportunity and brands and businesses who do not at least show a passing interest in Social Shopping are just handing revenue to their competitors.
Facebook, which also owns Instagram, and Pinterest have built in the facility for companies to list and sell products directly into the Social Media sphere, the entire transaction is handled without the customer ever having to leave their Social Feed or switch apps.
For Facebook this keeps users locked in by reducing their opportunities to flit away and it gives the Social Media behemoth even more revenue streams.
For the brand or business trying to sell it gives them another selling opportunity and also benefits that Holy Grail of online shopping: fewer clicks – thus fewer barriers – to complete the sale. It encourages the buyer to act now before they change their mind.
81% of shoppers research products on Instagram and Facebook, and shopping is a top priority for 48% of Pinterest users. Why not give ‘em what they’re looking for?
Facebook and Instagram
Instagram looks to be the most promising channel for immediate additional sales. The whole platform is photo driven, so displaying products to sell is no different to the seller and doesn’t interrupt the user experience for the buyer, it is seamlessly integrated with the Instagram Checkout facility.
All the user (your potential customer) sees is the shopping bag icon in the bottom left corner of an image. Clicking this brings up a more detailed preview of the product, including the price, and a link to the retailer’s own website.
Facebook Shops is very similar but it maintains a catalogue of products as part of your Facebook Business Page, inventory and orders are all managed from the Facebook Page admin facility using Messenger to update customers on progress of the order.
As Facebook and Instagram are under the same roof you’d expect there to be some cross-pollination of back-office admin – and you’d be correct. Setting up a Facebook shop is the starting point of selling on Instagram as both social channels pull the ecommerce data from the FB source.
Product Pins in Pinterest work very similar way to Instagram in that the user experience is unchanged from everyday scrolling. The Pin (image) is added with other data like pricing and availability. The transaction is handled by your own website so you need to have an existing e-commerce facility up and running. Clicking a ‘BUY’ button in Pinterest exits the app. This might change as Pinterest catches up with Facebook strategies but for now Pinterest is still a major source of e-commerce traffic.
Google’s offering in this area is different from the social channels but arguably just as important. If you have ever done a search and seen boxed links to products at the top of the search results page, that is Google Shopping.
Essentially it just offers an instant comparison to the buyer of several similar products from different retailers. But making your listing visible and appealing here could be the difference to clinching the sale or seeing the buyer visit your competitor.
To get started with Social Commerce on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest GET IN TOUCH to see how we can assist you.