Business

Social Ecommerce Marketplace – The Next Big Thing?

One of our readers asked if Social ecommerce is booming and if social ecommerce marketplaces are the next big things? Well, it is not much of a secret. In fact, as a proven growth hacker and as an experienced ecommerce consultant, I am delightful to shout it from the roof tops and claim with certitude of astronomical proportions, “Yes! Social ecommerce is indeed booming. Social commerce marketplaces are undoubtedly the next big things.” When I talked about startling types of social commerce or s-commerce, my audiences were lost for words. Social commerce marketplace vendors’ quest for dominating the market may play out in different ways. Before making you all understand the underlying implications of social commerce or s-commerce, let me first define social commerce for you.

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What exactly is social commerce?

Let me use a few references and then, I will come up with Ecommercemix’s definition:

According to Wikipedia, Social commerce is a subset of electronic commerce that involves using social media, online media that supports social interaction and user contributions, to assist in the online buying and selling of products and services. More succinctly, social commerce is the use of social network(s) in the context of e-commerce transactions. The term social commerce was introduced by Yahoo! in November, 2005, to describe a set of online collaborative shopping tools such as shared pick lists, user ratings and other user-generated content-sharing of online product information and advice.

Here is what Fairway Market experts have to opine on social commerce

Social commerce is the act of consumers with similar interests, passions and needs collectively engaging in conversations related to products and services that satisfy those interests, passions and needs. Those conversations usually segue into several types of actions, such as recommending the products and services to more of their peers, and ultimately the purchase of those products and services. Influencers, those who are perceived to “be in the know”, can have a great impact on the direction of the group’s actions. The initial group of consumers may or may not know each other dependent on the forum (Facebook vs. Yelp vs. a party at someone’s house), however it’s their shared interest that ties them together.

Here is Ecommercemix’s take on social commerce:

We believe in two perspectives:

Broad perspective

Narrow perspective

Broad perspective:

In a broad perspective, social commerce is essentially all about leveraging the feature rich social media platforms to positively impact and influence consumers’ preferences, buying patterns, purchase intentions, and recommendations thereby generating leads, profits and revenue. It essentially involves taking into consideration the reviews posted by peers, registered users and fellow shoppers on various internet forums and dedicated discussion boards.

Narrow perspective:

As a newer and yet increasing vital niche, social commerce is all about allowing buyers and sellers to discuss their online shopping experiences- both pain points and touch points on social channels thereby allowing them to draw robust transactional comparisons.

We at Ecommercemix have come up with eight broad categories of social commerce. If you think we have missed out any category, we cordially invite you to drop a comment in the comments section. We will definitely look into your suggestions and implement them with utmost assiduity.

Peer to Peer Marketplaces

A peer-to-peer marketplace creates win-win situations on both the sides. In simple words, sellers (individuals) directly sell their products (goods and services) to buyers (individuals). Both the sides benefit due to the business activity. Typical examples include community based marketplaces and bazaars. Some noteworthy examples include eBay, Etsy, Amazon Handmade marketplace. Other big players include AirBnB which is a travel peer-to-peer marketplace, Olx, Craigslist and Uber which is a work and service peer-to-peer marketplace. Bitcoin, which is an innovative payment network, is another example P2P marketplace. Betfair, the betting exchange platform is also a P2P marketplace.

A magnificent blend of social network driven sales and social shopping:

Social shopping is all about simulating the real world shopping experiences on online platforms. To empower shoppers and buyers in taking informed decisions and making effective purchases, charts, forums, and commenting features are provided. Social shopping is one of the best ways to guide shoppers. Social network driven sales can be broadly categorized into the following:

Referral sales:

As the name suggests, these are the sales due to referrals. If a customer spreads the good word on his social media profiles which may include either Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or a combination of these three, it is likely that other buyers may be influenced to purchase the product. These buyers may be members of community forums or friends of the referee.

Purchases on social media sites:

Purchases on social media sites are made through a “shop” tab on the Facebook page of the social shopping site.

Some popular examples of social shopping sites include Motilo, Fashism, GoTryItOn etc.

Group buying platforms:

Group buying is also known as collective buying. Some of the popular group buying sites include Groupon, Living Social and Plum District. Group buying platforms dance around the concept of ‘a minimum number of customers’. Deep discounts are given to the groups that have a minimum number of customers or buyers or social shoppers.

User curated shopping

There is nothing that beats content. Curated content is held in high esteem by customers. As the name suggests, user curated shopping is all about creating unique customer shopping experiences by displaying products/items that shoppers instantly fall in love with. Content is curated based on the preferences of the shoppers. This lets shoppers to shop without losing any access to multiple ecommerce stores from a central starting point. Thus, enthusiasts can create and share lists of products and services for other buyers to shop from.

Peer recommendations

The best example of this category is Amazon. If you have purchased a book on Java Programming, Amazon comes up with a beautiful message, “Users who have bought this have also bought these.” More often than not, such messages are complemented by reviews and ratings that more or less serve as customer testimonials. Sites such as Yelp often reward customers for sharing products and purchases with friends and other buyers.

Participatory commerce

If one pays close attention to the title, it becomes easy to infer that consumers play a vital role in this genre of social ecommerce. Apart from regular social shopping, consumers fund the shopping site. They are engaged in the production process and they express their opinions by voting either in favor of or against a few products. It is the customers who have the final say with respect to product designs and product configurations. Popular examples of such marketplace platforms include Threadless, Kickstarter, CutOnYourBias, IndieGoGo etc. Ecommerce pundits have rechristened this participatory commerce as ‘crowd funding’ commerce or ‘crowd sourcing’ commerce.

Facebook as an integral part of social commerce

It is no exaggeration that Facebook has become an integral part of social commerce. The year 2012 witnessed the launch of Gifts platform on Facebook. In many ways, this idea failed. Facebook eventually ditched that idea in 2014. However, it came up with a growth hack called “Buy” button. Ever since this “Buy” button came into picture, shoppers enjoyed shopping on Facebook without leaving the site. This drove tremendous conversions for most of the ecommerce ventures- both small and big. Facebook took this as an opportunity to display Facebook curated ads. This made social commerce or s-commerce all the more exciting. I must say, Facebook found its true calling in social commerce.

Pinterest as an integral part of social commerce

I am pretty sure that most of our readers are well versed with the fact that Pinterest is a visual social media channel that allows its users to pin and post images of objects or entities they are in love with. I would bet nickels and dimes to pronounce that fashion industry has benefited a great deal by leveraging Pinterest. Pinterest allows its users to pin their favorite and trendy costumes, outfits and accoutrements. More often than not, there are links on the images that direct to seller’s site. Good Lord! This gave an impetus for Pinterest to come up with buy buttons on pins which they trendily call it as Buyable pins. These buyable pins gave more meaning and satisfaction to its users as shoppers seldom visited the original ecommerce sites for purchasing items. They purchased from Pinterest. Pinterest thus glorified itself with its Buyable pins button.

Before commenting on the future of Social ecommerce, let me mention some competitive numbers

If I were to speak on social traffic and sales, Facebook’s sojourn stands as a powerful parable. To substantiate my claim, here are a few numbers- Nearly, two-thirds of all social media visits on popular marketplaces such as Etsy, Shopify etc. come from Facebook. When it comes to Facebook and sales on Facebook, I remain an eternal optimist. Approximately 85% of all orders from social media visits come from Facebook. Facebook clearly seems to be the fundamentally preferred social media channel – be it for sales, entertainment or edutainment.

Reddit is setting itself ablaze with Brobdingnagian numbers. In 2013, orders from Reddit, the front page of the internet, grew to 152%. The figure is getting better and better. If I were to describe the power of reddit hug in terrifically rich content, please read this case study on “How a small business ecommerce store made $55k + in less than 30 minutes.”

Instagram too seems to dominate social commerce sales. If you were to believe that Instagram is still in its infancy when it comes to social commerce sales, I sincerely advice you to embrace the truth. Instagram is generating higher and even better average orders than its competitor sites and social media platforms. I claim for your respectful attention when I make this statement- “Sales on Instagram may surpass sales on Pinterest in the near future.”

Let me reveal an interesting point about Polyvore, a reputed community style site. Polyvore seems to wearing the hat of a game changer as its average order sales figures surpass that of Facebook.

And yes! Facebook still enjoys its supremacy when it comes to highest conversion rate. Want me to quote the figure. Here I go- It is 1.85% for all social media ecommerce traffic.

Now that I have made the statement “Social ecommerce and social ecommerce marketplaces are the next big things” so very cliché and yet very true, I would like to enlighten your minds that social ecommerce is still in its infancy. It is now left to us to tap its potential and make the best of it.

Before detailing out the features of Admire social ecommerce marketplace, l would like to cordially bring to your knowledge the six pillars on which Admire social ecommerce marketplace was built.

Customer support and care:

In many ways, this has been the turning point and made our other ecommerce marketplaces – Admire lite, Admire digital and Admire mCommerce instant hits. Our 24 ×7 customer service has taken our venture Ecommercemix to a new global trajectory. Moreover, dedicated internet forums and discussion boards allow shoppers to enunciate and elucidate their shopping experiences. We sincerely opine that it is this pillar which has enabled us to prove our entrepreneurial caliber.

Contextualization and the perfect timing:

We believe in introducing the right product at the right time to the right customer group. Endowed with a team of experienced growth hackers, visionary ecommerce consultants and brilliant programmers, we encourage customers to plunge into social shopping arena.

Propinquity:

It is indubitably the social media channels that effectively shorten the gap between your brand, your products and potential customers. To quote an example, Beauty Swatch is one such social commerce site where its women sell beauty products to its online customers. We have integrated all social media sign in buttons to ensure a seamless experience.

Visibility:

It is all about getting more and more HTTP traffic. The higher the traffic better is the visibility. Visibility reflects your brand’s dynamism and potential of reaching the next best level.

Reputation:

Visibility and reputation go hand-in-hand. We have designed, developed and configured our social ecommerce marketplace platform in such a way that it reflects your brands’ passion and drive. The way your target audiences speak about your brand will be music to ears and a visual treat to your eyes.

Recommendation:

Apart fromprofile based recommendations and photo-powered recommendations, we have introduced a new variant called ‘Algorithm based’ recommendations. Why do we encourage recommendation? The answer is simple- To help customers make better decisions.

Owing to the above six pillars, Admire Social ecommerce marketplace comes as a natural choice to one and all.

Note:

The following insightful sections and segments have been penned down by Steve Watson, a proven growth hacker and an outstanding programmer.

With over 307 million monthly active users on Twitter, an overwhelming 1.55 billion monthly active users on Facebook, over 100 million active users on Pinterest, over 300 million monthly active users on Instagram, don’t you think our ecommerce sector is on the verge of experiencing a phenomenal revolution called ‘Social ecommerce revolution?’  Social ecommerce revolution is something beyond online chats and conversations. It is something about embracing the notions of ‘evolving communities.’ Our Social ecommerce marketplace has been built with a triumph of experimental reason and star-struck winnable notions.

Admire Social ecommerce marketplace features

Powerful viral marketing tools:

To empower viral marketing, promote word of mouth marketing and delegate viral marketing activities, Admire social commerce marketplace is integrated with powerful viral marketing tools. There is an inherent ROI (Return On Investment) tracker. Apart from an inbuilt promotions engine, there is an inbuilt module called ‘promotions’ module that lets you track infinite number of promotions. We will be releasing updated version of this module every month. Users need not pay an extra penny to get access to all updated versions.

Content Management module:

As I had emphasized earlier in many of my previous write-ups that there is nothing that beats good content, our content management module gives you complete control over the content. We have embedded Windows-style editors that enable you to take complete control over the look and feel of your content- both infographic and non-infographic. It is eventually left to the volition of content writers to come up with engaging and refreshing content. During email campaigns and social media campaigns, our content management module can come handy. Flexibility and ease are two complementary virtues that come with our Content Management module.

Logistics and Analytics:

Our buzzword is ‘WWW’. It is not World Wide Web. It is Where, What and Who. Our robust Analytics module lets you analyze who your potential customers are, where they are spread –both geographically and demographically and what their areas of interest are. In our dedicated ‘customer reach’ reports, we provide smart insights on how to target and reach your target audiences.

Shopping Cart Abandonment software:

If you haven’t acquainted yourself with the term ‘Shopping Cart Abandonment’, all is not lost yet as you may read it here. We proudly assert that we have integrated ‘Shopping cart abandonment module’ in our Admire social commerce marketplace.

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Payment processing module:

We have integrated multiple payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe etc. A robust multi-currency convertor has been integrated. Depending upon the shopper’s preferences, payment shall be processed.

Design and user experience:

We have everything- From captivating themes to user friendly layouts, from premium background images to free templates. A perfect blend of CSS, HTML and jQuery modules is always on the cards. Custom landing pages and ideal home pages can be created by using our modules. You can display you products catalog accordingly. If I were to describe our design and user experience features, I would aptly entitle the features with the appellation- “Elixirs of Social Commerce.”

Hands-on implementation:

You need not be a tech savvy guy to customize your code. Our technical lead or technical manager will reach you on Skype and will explain you all the steps. We will be using Team Viewer software to make changes to your code. We have verbose documents that serve as ‘self-study’ guides. We will help you launch your own social ecommerce site.

Complaints and discussions:

It is extremely rare that a customer complaints about our services and our marketplace scripts’ features. Probably, one in a billion customers will experience a slight momentary pang of guilt. CRM- customer Relationship Management is inseparable from our marketplace scripts –be it Admire lite, Admire digital, Admire e-commerce and Admire social commerce. We have dedicated web forums and discussion boards. Our marketplace scripts are certified.