Leveraging Social Media for eCommerce Conversion
Most companies already realize that social media has the ability to offer digital word-of-mouth marketing, as well as social proof, driving the purchasing decisions of consumers. However, the idea of using social media to drive traffic and revenue hasn’t caught on as quickly. Social networks now emphasize visual product discovery, which offers companies focused on ecommerce far more than simply engagement or awareness.
What Statistics Show
Statistics have shown that social referral traffic generally converts at under 1%, while it’s traffic contribution to ecommerce sites is usually under 2%. When compared to expensive, reliable paid searches, social traffic and conversion seem to underwhelm. However, it’s important to consider the way social media helps consumers discover new products via their friends.
The Growth of Social Commerce Networks
Social networks continue to evolve, converging with ecommerce to provide discovery engines that are replacing many of the shopping comparison sites that are price driven. However, these new social networks offer three keys that help e-commerce sites increase profit. First, social commerce sites are all about interest instead of just friendships. Second, these networks often focus on shopping. Third, these networks are all offering visual interaction. The combination of these characteristics makes social commerce sites outperform other social networking sites in important metrics, including conversion rates and average order value.
One of the largest, most popular social commerce sites is Pinterest, which grew quickly to become America’s third-largest social network. This site offers the second-highest order value for ecommerce sites. Although Pinterest allows users to pin nearly anything, the site is offering a “buy” button to users, allowing them to purchase items directly without the need to visit a merchant website. Products are easy to display with pin promotion and rich pins.
Instagram is a strong tool for fashion companies that want to get involved in social commerce. The site, which is owned by Facebook, recently announced a new social commerce plan, expanding its advertising plan for companies. New options will include "buy now," "install app," "learn more," and "sign up." With over 300 million users, Instagram beats out Pinterest, which only has about 70 million users.
Polyvore and Wanelo
Polyvore and Wanelo are social networks that are purely focused on shopping. Since these sites focus on shopping, they’re able to increase average order value, with Polyvore boasting the highest average order value. Wanelo is a lot like Pinterest, except it’s actually focused on shopping and offers a “buy” option that allows mobile visitors to purchase thousands of items without leaving the site.
Social Sites Go From Engagement to Sales
While traditional social media sites still help build brands and raise awareness, social commerce sites have a much bigger impact on the purchase decision. This new brand of social network encourages the shopping mindset, allows consumers to purchase without leaving the site, and offers crowd-sourced discovery as well. When ecommerce marketers begin building a presence and following on social commerce networks, they have an excellent opportunity to build awareness as well as sales.
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