What is the new approach for faster shopping?
Social commerce. As if you needed another way to shop on a Sunday afternoon, brands and social networks are creating a way for you to enjoy shopping while on various social media channels. Whether it is bringing the options to you via SMS or making it one step easier for you to purchase your next item, social media is doing it’s best to tempt you and drive a return on investment for brands. Social networking websites such as Instagram, Google, Facebook, etc are all trying to put “buy buttons” on social media, which raises the question: Will social media websites become a place to buy from rather than just an “influence channel”?
Making Our “Shopping Carts” Social
Facebook and Instagram have integrated social commerce into their social media marketing strategies. Facebook recently announced their incorporation of buy buttons on the social networking site. Similar to their ads suggesting apps, instead of a “download” there will be, in place, a “buy” button. This way, people can click this button on ads and Page posts to directly buy a product from a company without even leaving Facebook. This easy way of shopping has greatly affected the marketplace. Mailena Urso, director of marketing at Collective Bias said, “Shoppers nowadays are all about convenience, so making it easy for them to purchase directly from social channels makes sense. It creates a new level of influence that has the potential to drive even more sales than traditional ways of shopping. If I see my friend purchasing something on Facebook, for example, I will most likely be interested.”
Instagram has incorporated a similar one-click system making it easier for customers to purchase from the ads they view on their feeds. Courtney Lawless, VP of community relations oversees a community of influencers and definitely sees social networks as a marketplace. She says, “I have people I follow on Instagram that I have purchased products from right through the app. I purchased a necklace from a lady I follow on Instagram by giving her my PayPal email address. She billed me, I paid and then she shipped the necklace to me.” When Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, they expanded their advertising efforts by incorporating ads in user feeds on Instagram. Now the Instagram feed is open to all advertisers and marketers are be able to target ads to their users just as they can on Facebook. Viewers are also able to purchase the items that are advertised by clicking on a link.
Who else is a part of this new phenomenon?
Nordstrom just launched a new text to buy feature. This innovative tech-savvy way is called TextStyle, which Nordstrom personal shoppers can use. By signing up for a Next texting account, customers will receive images of products to their liking via MMS. They will then be able to simply respond, “buy”, to purchase the item(s). This new business venture has definitely stepped up the social commerce game.
Some social networks and companies are profiting off of each other to make it more convenient for users to shop. By connecting your Twitter and Amazon accounts, you will be able to shop on Amazon without ever leaving Twitter. When a customer searches through their Twitter feed and sees any content with an Amazon.com link, they merely have to reply to that tweet with “#AmazonCart”. That item will then be placed in their Amazon shopping cart, awaiting purchase. After, the users will receive a reply tweet from @MyAmazon describing the status of their request.
Dominos has also developed a more convenient way to order online with their tweet to order pizza feature. How does it work? Once a customer’s profile has been saved in Domino’s Easy order system, they will be able to simply tweet the pizza emoji or #EasyOrder to the Domino’s Twitter handle. Dominos will then send the customer a direct message saying that they have received the order and they will deliver it to the address saved on the customer’s profile afterward. What could be wrong with this? Nothing – except for the fact that you can now order a Dominos pizza with a simple tweet and in a society that is obsessed with perfect body image, I can only picture how many people will regret pressing that “tweet” button.
Google has big plans for social commerce as well, no surprises there. They recently created a new feature for advertisements that allows video viewers to shop before they watch their clip. The feature, called TrueView, will replace the “Skip Ad” button that typically is displayed before a video, allowing users the choice to shop before they sit back, relax, and enjoy their video. Additionally, Google has added their own “buy” button similar to Amazon’s for mobile-friendly sites.
So, has social media websites become a place to buy from rather than a mere “influence channel”?
Courtney Lawless says, “Social platforms are already becoming both ecommerce and influence channels. These concepts go hand-in-hand at this point with the power online influence has to encourage people to click the ‘Check Out’ button. Opinions that friends have shared in my networks have certainly influenced me to purchase products. Moments of “discovery” about an appealing service from scrolling through a newsfeed or while watching a YouTube video have fueled more impulse buys than I’d like to admit. Online influence is brought to an ever higher level when you can buy an item with one click, rather than going through the ‘check out’ motions.” Alas, the days of using shopping as your cardio are long gone. Whether you’re stuck at home during a snowstorm or too tired to make it outside, these new features are definitely going to work in your favor.”
Have you bought anything while surfing around a social channel?