Social media sites are no longer just about sharing grumpy cat photos or letting followers know what kind of mood you’re in. Whether people are on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest – just to name the big three – big-name brands and businesses are there, too. They’re spreading the word about their products and services, and in the process of doing so, trying to engage the consumer. Although engagement is important, what really matters is simple: sales. Brands are now, more than ever before, trying to use social media to encourage just that.
A New Way to Shop Online
Social-mobile shopping is far from mainstream, but companies are increasingly betting on it becoming the new way of shopping, mainly because everyone is always on their smartphones. As such, companies are getting their sites and apps ready, and giving consumers more opportunities to spread the word about their purchases through their social media profiles.
Need more proof that it’s time to get mobile? A recent Forrester Research study reports that 53 percent of retailers are making mobile a key part of their plan. This means they’re going to be optimizing their websites for everything from smartphones to tablets, in the hopes that it leads to better site conversion and more online sales. Many of these companies might look to social-mobile shopping as well. After all, what better vehicle is there to not only capture new customers but also get those very same clients to spread the word about the products?
Sharing Purchases with Social Media Networks
With social-mobile shopping, after a client makes a purchase they can share what they’ve purchased with their friends via a Facebook or Twitter widget. A lot of the big names have been doing this for some time. For example, once you complete an order on Amazon you can share what you’ve bought, whether it be a book or a lawnmower, to your social media feeds.
Amazon, as the behemoth that it is, also allows you to create wish lists of items and then make those lists public so that your friends and family can see exactly what you want come the holidays. While you might not have the website traffic that Amazon has, Amazon’s functionality can be replicated on a smaller level. In other words, develop ways for clients to easily purchase your products and share what they’ve purchased with their friends and family – or simply allow them to create wish lists that can be shared.
Sites and Apps Dedicated to Social-Mobile Shopping
Pinterest has rolled out a lot of functionality since it was originally developed. From rich pins to its mapping feature, the scrapbooking site has increasingly become friendly toward businesses. However, its functionality to purchase things is somewhat limited in that users must click on an image to go to the business’s website in order to make a purchase.
Wanelo – abbreviated from “Want, Need, Love” – has figured a way to make the purchasing process less streamlined. It’s similar to Pinterest in that it collects a series of product images, but the key difference is that users can simply click “buy” from within the app. So whether you’re designing a room and need to find the perfect lamp to buy, or you’re assembling a new wardrobe and need a set of unique men’s cufflinks, Wanelo makes it easy.
In other words, it’s a prime example of social-mobile shopping working and working well. It’s still a social media site in the sense that it’s an online community where users themselves can post products to the site, and it’s a shopping mall in the sense that it makes it incredibly easy for people to make a purchase.
Harnessing Existing Social Media Sites
While Wanelo is a relatively new site and online community, the social media sites that have been established for a few more years can also be harnessed to spread brand recognition and purchasing power for your clients.
Just look at Starbucks’ recent foray on Twitter through the handle @tweetacoffee. After people link their Starbucks account to Twitter, patrons of the coffee shop can send a $5 gift card to other Twitter followers simply by putting @tweetacoffee in their tweet to another user. This not only generates sales for Starbucks, but it gets people talking about the company and brand – a must for any social-mobile shopping campaign.
The Future of Social-Mobile Shopping
This is just the beginning of social ecommerce, or mobile commerce as it might come to be known. Social media has been established for years now, but it is transforming into must-have for businesses both large and small, particularly with more opportunities in terms of growing revenue and brand recognition.
In terms of social shopping as it currently stands, the largest target market is women, especially those in the 25- to 34-year-old age range. Businesses with these kinds of customers are, so far, best poised to get started with social ecommerce. As social ecommerce continues to take off, and more and more shopping apps are developed, chances are companies will be able to harness social-mobile shopping in their own ways and, in turn, make the purchasing process ever easier.