At this point, business owners are well versed in the ins and outs of ecommerce, but what about s-ecommerce? S-ecommerce, or social commerce, is an emerging ecommerce model that relies on social networks and other peer-to-peer communications to drive sales, according to Mashable. These platforms focus on the power of consumers in the market place and the influence they have over one another.
Many of these avenues have been available for years, but they are only now being acknowledged as s-ecommerce. Let’s take a look at the seven classifications of s-ecommerce and learn if they are applicable for your business.
Think of these platforms as online yard sales, budding boutiques or art festivals. Consumers use sites such as eBay and Etsy to sell their wares, from hand crafted artwork to gently used goods. This is a great strategy for small sellers to use when they are just starting out, especially when they have not yet raised enough funds for a brick and mortar store or full e-commerce website. Once you’ve built adequate momentum for a custom website you will have learned what your customers like in order to build an effective estore.
This category is the one business owners generally associate with S-ecommerce. There are two prongs to this approach: it can be used to gain referrals, driving traffic to your website, but it can also be used as a marketplace in and of itself. Though social shopping carts are still in their infancy, we expect to see them grow tremendously over the next few years. Though so-called “social stores” aren’t right for every business, we recommend that businesses join the social media sites that are relevant to their field and audience.
Group Based Buying:
With this strategy, products and services are offered as a discounted rate on sites like Groupon and LivingSocial if a certain quote of buyers is met. Though this is a great way to get first time customers through the door, it may not allow for a profit to be made on this initial purchase, as not only are you committing to a reduced price but you are also obligated to share profits from these social coupon sales with the host of your deal (i.e. Groupon or LivingSocial). Carefully assess the potential ROI of these deals; what kind of customer are you really attracting? If this is an audience that you can retain with great deals and customer service, then factor in potential repeat business from these initial buyers when evaluating ROI.
Sites such as The Fancy, Lyst and Svpply have created a new shopping experience for avid online shoppers. Members enter their preferences and/or select a category and the sites recommend products based on the number of people who have indicated that they want the items in question. Many of these sites are set up similarly to Pinterest or Tumblr, but have one main difference: users may purchase directly from these platforms. To get started on these platforms, you may add a button like the “Pin It” button to your product pages to encourage your web visitors to add your products to their online collection.
Shop By Recommendation:
You are probably most familiar with this tactic on large retailer sites like Amazon, though there are third party sites such as Yelp and JustBoughtIt that use the same concept. This strategy involves recommending products or services to users based on those that they have shown interest in, either by viewing or purchasing. This is a great feature to add to your own ecommerce site to get your customers’ eyes on more of your products.
This exciting new approach allows consumers to directly participate in the production of products by either voting for them, contributing to a collaborative design (as seen with Threadless) or even donating funds (the tactic used by Kickstarter). Crowdsourcing can be a great way to not only raise the capital that you need but to also ensure that there is significant demand for your product before it is produced. This is a viable option for both budding businesses and established companies looking to build excitement for and launch an innovative project.
Social Shopping takes User-Curated Shopping to the next level in an attempt to mimic the experience one would have shopping with friends in a brick and mortar mall in an online environment. These sites use chat and forum features to allow members to gather advice from friends on looks they have put together. Collectively, the jury’s still out on this shopping method, but it is a novel concept.
Have you taken advantage of any of the above s-ecommerce strategies? Do you want to know if you should partner one of these ideas with your ecommerce strategy? Contact us for a free consultation.