While one cannot deny the rise of social commerce and its pertinence to the overarching e-commerce industry, studies have shown that social-commerce strategies do not lead to as many purchases as you may think.
For example, Twitter recently phased out a buy button because it wasn’t seeing results, and another recent study found that less than half of users on Facebook have ever bought a product after clicking on a post or a link on the site. With this being said, it would be unwise to ignore social commerce as a methodology and way of producing sales.
While I’m confident social platforms will play a crucial role in driving sales in the future, the current model needs some work.
Experience-driven commerce, which is the key to success for brands looking to create seamless experiences for their customers from discovery to purchase, can only be made possible through a full-service e-commerce solution that helps ensure your online store will keep up with your social-media selling.
Relying solely on social media to do the job for you will likely leave you lacking in both sales and brand recognition. To increase sales, reduce customer abandonment at checkout, and build your own unique commerce operation, an intuitive e-commerce platform is necessary.
For example, does your full-service e-commerce solution include a payments portion that transcends global and social borders? Is the shopping experience and checkout process streamlined to encourage purchases? Does it deliver high-quality support for you and your customers? Once these questions are answered, commerce strategies and social platforms can be integrated and your business can grow from one centralized account.
A 2015 study found that social media increased its share of e-commerce referrals nearly 200% between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015. Recently, NFL and NBA teams have used Twitter to sell game tickets and merchandise. While these numbers prove that social commerce is growing and is working within certain mediums, this growth is not sustainable without the foundation of a strong e-commerce platform. Assets such as dynamic merchandising, localized languages and payments, intelligent product display, and up-sells will ultimately increase return on investment and checkout conversion rates.
The impact of social media reaches many different facets of business and of this industry, but when it comes down to it, consumers now expect personalized experiences. This means that platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter will continue to look for new ways to keep viewers engaged in an oversaturated digital ecosystem.
Nevertheless, none of this can come to fruition unless software companies have a unified, full-service solution to power the e-commerce experience and effectively support social commerce. This will in turn meet the unique needs of various businesses.
Whether simple or complex, e-commerce tasks cannot be left to the social media sites themselves. Therefore, software companies should use their valuable time to implement a full-service e-commerce solution, instead of letting the opportunity to close sales through social media slip through the cracks.
Sarah Bottorff is vice president of marketing at FastSpring, Santa Barbara, Calif.