Monday, 29 April 2013

Shopping gone Viral!

Is shopping still a distant planned affair? If the answer is a NO, that’s undoubtedly because of e-commerce. With e-commerce in place, it’s just a click away. With more and more e-commerce portals popping up each day, ‘compete and survive’ has become the need of the day. The new magic tool businesses now use to grab more attention and build brand loyalty, is “Social Networking for e-commerce”, shortly called Social Commerce.

Social Commerce is precisely the use of Social Networking to enhance one’s e-commerce business and improve the Buyer- Customer relationship. Present day e-commerce businesses find Social Networking an easy and lucrative way of reaching out to the customers, which is definitely working!

Social Networking could be the one stop solution for e-commerce entities when looking for the following:

  • Providing easily available content (spread information about one’s business)
  • To help form communities of potentially interested customers
  • To increase visibility (e.g. through likes and shares in Facebook)
  • To help spread the word when rolling out sales promotions (like best deals, offers, etc.)
  • To sense the public pulse by analyzing their conversations (this could be the base for new idea generation; to produce products of people’s choice).
  • To address their issues quickly (if any).
  • To help provide a platform for the users to share their expectations and experiences.
  • To improve traffic to their official websites.
  • To recognize their competitors.

      How often were you routed to a shopping site when social networking? Well, your answer precisely supports my statement that, several platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Foursquare, etc. have been the central points of interest for e-commerce businesses lately.

Use of Facebook for e-commerce:

Many e-commerce sites now have an official Facebook page that is being liked and shared by millions like us all around the world. By posting recent updates, pictures of their new products, related videos and much more, e-commerce is turning out to be more like a friend. Many start-ups like Alma Mater, Chumbak, etc. have found their target market through Facebook. Monginis, the famous Indian pastries and bakery chain based in Mumbai has its own e-commerce site. It also owns a Facebook page and Facebook app that helps customers get good deals on cakes they purchase. Yum cakes with yummier deals. Sounds great right? This is certainly a great way of pumping customer interaction and interest. Don’t you think?

Use of You Tube for e-commerce:

The world renowned video sharing website/social network has helped a multitude 
of e-commerce sites gain recognition through constant video uploading that helps push their sales up. Ora Brush is an e-commerce store selling a tongue cleaning product. It owns a channel in YouTube where, it keeps posting funny videos related to Bad Breath, its famous segment being a weekly video called “Dairy of a dirty tongue” that grabs millions of hits. This is yet another innovative way of engaging with the customers.

Use of Twitter for e-commerce:

The sensational micro blogging site has been successfully supporting several small scale businesses thus far. Also, it has now made e-commerce easy through its twitter commerce platform called “Chirpify” which helps people buy and sell products easily. An added advantage is that it works with Instagram. No more visiting the online store, no more filling up boring details. What an interesting deal!

Use of Pinterest for e-commerce:

Pinterest, the latest fast growing social networking site that lets people pin interesting posts and pictures on their virtual bulletin board is now playing a significant role in supporting the       e-commerce players as well. Zappos, a shoe and apparel e-commerce store owned by Amazon has now come up with a new service called PinPoinintg that recommends products based on the users’ posts in Pinterest. That surely spares us the effort of unnecessary elimination. This is evidently the most lucrative way of dealing with customers.

What customers like us want from Social Commerce?

  •          Relevant informative content (e.g. be location based)
  •          Adequate advice on products (viz. reliable product reviews)
  •          Sufficient options to choose from
  •          Immediate response to their queries and grievances
  •     Comparison (in terms of product price, quality, etc.) There are currently many price  comparison shopping engines like, Yahoo! Shopping, Price Grabber, etc.
       While, e-commerce is looking out for options to make life easier for us (more effortless and easily accessible), Social Networking is helping the customer scrutinize them, further emphasizing on the well known mantra “Customer is King”. 

Image Courtesy: Google Images
Sources for Content: Internet

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