Ecommerce is over – long live Social Commerce?
I have recently delivered a Social Commerce site for a German cosmetics brand. Also in my past life I was product managing a social commerce recommendation engine for a while – so I thought it was about time to write a blog post about Magento as a social commerce platform and its Social Shopping capabilities.
Social Commerce is a two-fold approach:
- helping people connect where they buy
- buy where they connect
Where users buy is your social commerce site (social media on ecommerce platforms) and where they connect are the social media platforms (ecommerce on social media platforms).
Besides using Google for searching for products, users find and share things through referrals and peer recommendations shop together and get in dialogue with brands online in the social networking sites. That means a social media strategy for retailers involves to be present in the social media platforms and convert the friends and followers from social networking platforms from prospects into customers and existing customers into repeat customers, creating a rich community of commerce, conversation, and collaboration. For retailers including a more human and conversational approach to their marketing mix is a must.
Although Social Commerce is more about strategy and content the social commerce platform being used needs to provide the functionality to help retailers becoming more social. It is important for any business to have a social commerce platform that helps to understand and directs your audience through a journey that decreases barriers to sale and increases engagement.
In Magento there a lot of inbuilt and external extensions to embrace the social bits of a retailer’s online approach. Here are some examples:
Social Commerce Extensions & Channel integration
There’s a lively community behind Magneto providing plenty of extensions covering and connecting to emerging and latest social media platforms.
- Utilise the tight Magento – WordPress integration and blog about what your customers are interested in.
- Bring your Magento shop to Facebook – buy where they connect. Facebook Shopializable is an extension allowing you to show your shop catalog from any Magento website through your Facebook profile.
- Get your customers talking on your site – connect where they buy – this extension (Facebook Connect Social Shopping) works the other way – it allows your visitors to connect with their Facebook friends without leaving your Magento ecommerce store. They can recommend to their friends a purchase that they are making or ask advice to choose between items to purchase.
Customer Personalisation for Ecommerce
Social Shopping comes into play when you enable customers to share the products or ask their social networks about them. This means people get real-time advice and recommendations from their own trusted social circle by posting questions directly to their news feeds.
Useful features in Magento are are wish-lists, compare products, email to friends options or a Facebook recommendation plug-in.
User-Generated Content as part of the Social Commerce Strategy
Another great way of adding social shopping elements to your social store are ratings & reviews to increase customer trust in your products, get customers’ input and increase conversions. This content generated by users provides an independent third-party evaluation of a product review, with an opportunity for viewers to contribute and discuss. Also, tags can be used by users the same way. Magento offers this inbuilt and is rather easy to use.
One approach here is the sharing of products with your network (also social bookmarking) harnesses the referral and recommendation value of customers and advocates. Another social aspect is to make use of the wisdom of the crowd and implement product recommendations on product detail or basket page to improve cross- and up-selling. Various extensions are available in the Magento Connect store.
Social SEO or SMO (Social Media Optimisation)
Social SEO is designed to attract visitors to websites by promoting and publicizing content through Social Media and getting back ecommerce traffic from social networking platforms and Google juice. Magneto has good inbuilt SEO capabilities (meta tags etc.) but allows also to utilise Google Base, RSS feeds and other content dissemination mechanisms.
Social commerce is about conversations and relationships. To succeed in ecommerce retailers have to re-humanizing their shops. To turn an ecommerce store into a social shopping site you need a capable social commerce platform and Magento is one that can certainly handle these requirements with ease. Great businesses have always been people-based businesses that understand the power of relationships and the importance of participating in a community.