What exactly is the ultimate eCommerce app development you ask? We’ve got two words for you: Social Selling. This Facebook and Amazon mashup of sorts would mean you’re handing your users the ability to buy something from a third-party within the native social media experience you’ve built. And this isn’t hard to build?
Well, Facebook did all the heavy lifting. Today, it's unfair to call building a social networking website a challenge. We’re all familiar with what it takes. Identify your community. Define the features and functions. We understand that this definition hinges on the quality of the identification of your community. The wants and needs of your community shape and outline the features. Then you hunt for the right technology. The features and functions determine the platform. Once the user-specific features are listed, you prepare the growth environment. Partnering with a hosting company makes your life a lot easier. They deal with all the pesky technical issues and any other issue related to your platform. You adopt a reliable security system that will put your users at ease. You consider scalability. Your social media platform has to account for growth. Activity streams are the core of every social media website, so you spend some quality time brainstorming and design the perfect tools that will make the status updates a smooth experience. You allow for personalization, add a native payments feature and ship your baby. That’s really it. We should know. We did most of it for Yelloday.
Take Facebook Marketplace. It’s pretty close to a Facebook and Amazon mashup. You can hunt for, buy and sell items here. It’s quite similar to Craigslist with one exception. You know who is selling the product. Purchasing a product from an acquaintance is far more reassuring than buying from a stranger. You don't have this feature on the likes of eBay or Craigslist. You can also make use of Messenger when you want to haggle over price or learn more about an item. There's no need to open your mail on another tab and wait for a reply. The only thing it’s missing is the native payments feature.
Zuckerberg made up for this by rolling out the new native payments system integrated within the Instagram application. Instagram just introduced a native payments option to its application for certain users. It allows you to register a credit or debit card, set up a security pin, then start purchasing without having to leave the platform. This could potentially turn Instagram into a far bigger player in commerce. Instagram is already enticing far more brands to jump on board since its Payments could make impulse buys far quicker.
On Twitter too, you can sell to customers directly. Any product that you’ve tweeted will include a buy button, which means your audience can buy from you without leaving Twitter. Pinterest comes with Buyable pins. Click “Buy It,” and you can purchase with either a credit card or Apple Pay right there. Pinterest has partnered with a bunch of major retailers, like Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Wayfair.
Today people are talking about your brand whether you’re using social media or not. Without an active presence, you let users control the story. That needn’t always be a bad thing. After all, the most credible form of advertising continues to be word-of-mouth. However, it’s when a user’s complaint goes unnoticed or when that story doesn’t paint you in a good light, that it becomes a problem. A simple acknowledgment of their complaint can sometimes be enough to buy you more time and build a connection in the future. These relationships will benefit you well beyond a simple link share. We’ve all come to understand the power social media wields over brands. Most consumer-oriented companies have responded to this shift by setting up Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. These are great ways of engaging with and influencing customers. Through social media, you're providing far more of an impetus compared to traditional advertising. The recommendations from the prospective buyer’s family and friends, the most influential people of all.
E-commerce is coming of age. Companies that have mastered the trick of distancing themselves from promoting their product and instead focusing on branding have already reaped the benefits social e-commerce has to offer. Many companies have chosen to embed their e-commerce platform into their Facebook page directly, allowing users to shop without having to leave the platform. Some are also using Facebook as a component of their Mother’s Day or Father’s Day campaigns and have integrated with other Facebook offerings like group gifting and the birthday calendars. It's not hard to imagine companies taking advantage of other social networking features, such as a user’s likes and dislikes about colors, musical preferences, travel preferences to help personalize their marketing. Here is where social commerce will have the most impact, offering unique purchasing propositions for users and new touch points for companies. Group gifting and group buying are perfect examples of new buying propositions. Social platforms can conveniently bring together friends and family to contribute to a gift for a specified recipient. Developments like group gifting, social shopping, and ticket buying provide a small glimpse of what is in store.
Social commerce will marry various types of data behavioral, purchase, and demographics to give us sociographic data which tracks what their friends buy, not only what the individual buys. This data is collected in real time as users recommend, browse, buy, and rate products. This gives companies the chance to influence behavior along the entire purchase path.
Amidst the opportunities present, it doesn’t make sense to spend time re-inventing the wheel. Use the existing infrastructure. Else you'd end up with a bunch of suppliers and no users unless you offered a strong enough incentive for consumers to come to your page instead of existing social media pages. The real challenge is turning a 'like' to a buy.
So employ existing social media sites to turn strangers into champions of your brand, these champions into customers and customers into salespeople. When done right, native social commerce removes the friction of having to browse on social media and then convert on another site. We would all like to own the entire experience, get the branding boost, etc. Also agreed, for now, “native social commerce” doesn’t feel native enough. Even so, social commerce is something to keep a pulse on. Moreover, this shouldn’t be enough of a reason for you to shy away from optimizing social commerce if it holds the potential to convert.