Social Commerce – The latest e-platform for shopping

venkatesan | December 21 - 2011

Storming the e-commerce world, social commerce has stepped in as the new but highly successful concept employed in marketing. Akin to any inquisitive customer who steps into a showroom, shoppers online are as curious to get to know the product better, before they shell out any riches. Retailers, hence, ought to understand such customers well in order to offer the ultimate online shopping experience.

Engaging the customers by making them interact with the online content underlines the basics of social commerce. Beyond the standard product descriptions provided online, product reviews and ratings are the new techniques adopted to catch the customers’ much needed attention. Contents on how the product works, tips, instructions, how-to videos have made the online shopping experience more interactive and social.

Social network platforms like twitter and facebook are being used by retailers to promote new and existing products. Forums for discussions have been developed to enable the customers offer feedback and share their experiences with the purchased product, thus turning the online shopping site into a community. These practices have, on the whole, led to increased sales and more number of return visits.

The key to success in commercializing socially is by deploying content that is SEO-friendly. Retailers have begun to upload custom content relating to the products on sale. For example, a fashion or clothing retailer may host an article about ‘The right attire for a luncheon’, which would invite users searching for related information on search engines. Besides such articles, customized contents also include user profiles, blogs, photo and video uploaders, journals and ho-to guides to increase customer interaction.

To increase the number of revisits by a customer, retailers host custom applications on their sites. For instance, an academic retailer will host an IQ tester that will give a reason for the visitor to revisit the site. As per studies conducted, most shoppers online trust recommendations by unknown product users and let themselves be influenced into buying the product online. Such a conversion drive is another major benefit of social commerce.

Besides all these advantages, retailers too benefit from the feedback the customers post. It helps them in improving and rectifying faults in the products they offer. Through social commerce, the retailer is able to satisfy the customer by providing more interactive content, in response to which, the retailer gains from increased traffic and better sales.

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