E-Commerce and m-commerce are old news, but what about social commerce? Social sites are redefining convenience with “buy now” buttons that could really shake up the way we shop online.
E-commerce can be extremely lucrative and social media companies want to see if they can get a piece of the pie. This year alone, global online sales should reach $1.5 trillion, with no signs of slowing down. Social commerce embodies a whole new level of convenience. About 22.5 percent of the total time we clock in online is spent on social sites. It makes perfect sense for sites like Facebook and Twitter to try to get into the game and make the most of the time users already devote to them.
Facebook’s “Buy Now” Button
TechCrunch reported that Facebook is testing out a button that would allow users to buy items without leaving its website or app. That means that casually scrolling down your news feed at the train station could present you with a great product you could purchase without ever going to that retailer’s website. Facebook will even save payment information securely to make future purchases easier. If it works, it seems like a win-win for Facebook and online retailers, because Facebook could collect fees and online retailers could capitalize on impulsive shoppers.
Retailers can add a “buy now” button to products that they promote via a page or ad. This fits well with the image based experience Facebookers have grown used to. A “buy now” button is an interesting concept because it won’t boost site traffic for online retailers, but it could definitely boost sales and loyalty. This isn’t the first time Facebook has dabbled in e-commerce and this most recent attempt is similar to one that another popular social site has tried out.
In June, some Twitter users noticed “buy now” buttons, but this company took a different route than Facebook. Instead of having shoppers buy the item on Twitter, the tweets included links to an external site called Fancy on which it was featured. The “buy now” button appeared in both the timeline and expanded view of the tweets, but nothing happened when users clicked on it.
Twitter’s recent acquisition of CardSpring, a payments infrastructure company, certainly will help if it wants to become a force in e-commerce. CardSpring already lets users tweet gifts to their friends and it could easily be used to make promotional retail tweets actionable and profitable.
While Pinterest hasn’t started “buy now” buttons just yet, it certainly has been active in driving e-commerce sales. It recently partnered with Shopify to make purchases even easier for users and further drive sales for its 100,000-plus merchants. Since last month, when users repin products, important information like real-time pricing and stock level for that item go along with it. Pinners even get notifications if their items drop in price.
The Future of Social Commerce
Online shoppers are very price sensitive and many research online before making a purchase. Shoppers are 71percent more likely to buy from a company they follow on social media, making online presence more important than ever. If buy buttons became commonplace on social sites, they would be easy call-to-actions that could definitely drive sales by simplifying the shopping process. Pinterest’s price drop feature is the most innovative idea yet in social commerce, as it further incentivizes pinners to make a purchase using psychological pricing. Seventy-three percent of shoppers are influenced by discounts, therefore it seems that Pinterest and Shopify are really on to something.
Where do you think social commerce is headed?