Social commerce represents a tiny percentage of overall retail sales but Facebook is the clear leader and is already offering retailers a variety of options for converting users into consumers, according to eMarketer. Some of those consumers are warming to the idea of buying products and services while on the site. Retailers are still in the early stages of using social media for the purpose of sales, but social media sales is poised for growth. Booz & Company estimated that $1 billion in goods would be sold through social media in the US in 2011. That figure is expected to triple in 2012 and reach $14 billion by 2015.
Krista Garcia, eMarketer analyst and author of the new report “Facebook Commerce: Reaching Shoppers Where They Socialize” said:
“It is not surprising that shopping and socializing—activities that complement each other in the real world—are beginning to converge online as well. As social media, and Facebook in particular, plays a larger role in consumers’ lives, people are becoming accustomed to performing routine tasks like reading news, watching videos and listening to music, as well as discovering products and shopping, all while staying logged in to a single site. Instead of compartmentalizing daily routines, social media users are treating Facebook as a one-stop platform.”
Facebook as central point of digital journey
Heavy Facebook users see the platform as a one-stop shop. Garcia about Facebook’s role in ecommerce:
“Facebook’s role in ecommerce is currently in flux. Brands are beginning to realize its capabilities, while users are growing accustomed to mingling with companies online and sharing shopping activities with friends. Even though social media is still more of a marketing tool than a sales vehicle, Facebook’s influence on shopping behavior extends beyond triggering conversions on the spot.”
Facebook as a one-stop platform is an opportunity not many have, establishing the global userbase and the interaction. Facebook enables the personification of one’s digital ID, integrating more and more daily routines, and personalizing along through profile and network data.
An Econsultancy survey reported that 90 per cent of purchases have some sort of social influence, as pointed out by Wired. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ (KPCB) -Silicon Valley investors- Bing Gordon said:
The potential for social commerce today is “infinite”. All internet and connected mobile users will tap into their social networks daily. It is a friction-free way to build social capital effortlessly, and has strong network effects.” So, you introduce new friends to a service or goods that you value. Every page will have your friends’ profile picture on them, based on their relevance to that site Every ecommerce site will have to adapt.”
Social-influenced retail websites
For retailers that don’t have target audiences which belong to the heavy Facebook-user segment, the socialization of the retail website takes the personalisation and social influence to it, TechCrunch on a study conducted by Sociable Labs:
Ecommerce sites should consider how they can personalize their sites using Facebook data, as a new study shows 50% of visitors to ecommerce sites are currently logged in to Facebook. Using Facebook social plugins and Connect integrations, sites can leverage Facebook data to show visitors what friends bought or shared, what products relate to their Likes, and which friends they might want to invite.