|EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2956 - December 13, 2012 - ISSN 1539-5065 4 of 5|
The nascent days of the World Wide Web in the early 1990's found many companies satisfied with a web "presence" that consisted of a business name, physical address, phone number, and possibly an email address. That was ecommerce at its earliest from a web browser perspective.
Ecommerce evolved from that point, of course, to being an experience that's dynamic enough to let customers (virtually) try on clothing before buying it, among other advances. Social media, in the form of Facebook, Twitter, the rapidly rising Pinterest, and others, bears some similarity to the early Web in how ecommerce has utilized it so far - a virtual signpost but not too much else.
Social commerce firm 8thBridge recently reported on their research into the Internet Retailer 500, and the strategies those companies employ with regards to social media. Those that impressed the most have moved beyond just having a fan page on Facebook, according to their "2012 SCIQ: Retail" report.
"Three types of companies have emerged as leaders in this year's report - the first is ecommerce companies that have deeply integrated social functionality into their sites, the second is "in-transition" companies that do well in all social commerce areas, and the third is strong viral companies that score exceptionally well in social network branding and referral traffic," 8thBridge CEO Wade Gerten said.
Fab.com, DebShops.com, and Coastal.com rated as the top three sites in 8thBridge's report. These companies did the best jobs of increasing brand awareness on social networks, and increasing total upstream social traffic from them. 8thBridge also measured what they call "social lift." This is based on how a site's social experiences helped drive increases in site visits, conversions, and shopping basket size.
As noted earlier, these social experiences are more than just having a presence in social media. Social lift also means deploying buttons for sharing with social media, and empowering ratings and reviews. Sites succeeding in receiving more benefit from social media make the ability to connect friend to friend while on a site part of the experience.
For example, 8thBridge found 51 percent of companies had deployed the Pin It button, the sharing widget for Pinterest. Although Pinterest draws a lot of visitors, 8thBridge said its upstream traffic to sites measured only 0.11 percent. Facebook's upstream traffic weighed in at 2.46 percent, in comparison.
8thBridge also delved deeper into Facebook. They surveyed 1,819 U.S. residents in July 2012 regarding Facebook usage and interest in social commerce. 70 percent preferred to hear about a new product from a friend on Facebook, rather than a brand on Facebook.
Also, 44 percent believed they were most likely to discover new products on Facebook, while only 21 percent thought they would on Pinterest. Twitter rated among only 13 percent of those respondents. For ecommerce, the real trick will be to reach the 37 percent of respondents who don't pay attention to shared posts about products at all.
About the Author
About the author:
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. Find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.
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