When Howard Schultz came on board with Starbucks in 1982 after a trip to Italy, he advised the company to evolve its business from coffee beans and accessories to coffeehouse culture and espresso by the cup. The idea was initially met with rejection from company founders. Given Starbucks’ meteoric rise over the next 20 years, the rest is history, with the lesson that businesses need to be cognizant of market trends and embrace new revenue channels that promise growth.
Janrain has written a pretty informative and useful whitepaper about how to leverage social activity for ecommerce gains. And isn’t that what Starbucks did in many ways? It made its business not just a coffee business but a social one.
As Janrain points out in its paper, retailers ignore social channels at their own risk, and a number of recent market trends have coalesced to make social commerce a top of mind objective. A majority (58%) of all consumers now research products online before purchasing, and half of those consumers publish comments or reviews online about the products they buy. Global e-commerce revenue figures continue to grow at a faster rate (19%) than the economy as a whole. More than 850 million users have flocked to Facebook to interact and share with friends. These developments have created a fertile ecosystem both for retailers seeking to cultivate new revenue streams and for platform vendors providing solutions to enable social commerce.
The paper discusses 7 Ways to Leverage Social Commerce. Below are a few of them, but for all seven, click this link to download the full report.
1) Ratings & Reviews – Retailers reap significant SEO benefits by housing reviews on-site. Twenty-five to thirty-five percent of traffic to large e-commerce sites is organic search, and Google favors fresh content, often user-generated, in its results. Most retailers assert that traffic directly to product pages produces the highest conversion rates, and blending product descriptions with customer reviews creates optimized content that search engines simply can’t resist.
2) Social Sharing – Social sharing taps peer recommendations to drive qualified traffic to product pages and conversion points on e-commerce sites. It lets consumers promote their purchases or product reviews to their friends on multiple social networks, which fosters brand advocacy and drives qualified referral traffic. Janrain customers generate an average of 13 qualified referral visitors to their site each time content or activities (such as purchases or reviews) are shared to a social network.
3) Social Ads – Targeted social ads are another effective traffic-driver to product pages and conversion points on site. Because Facebook accounts for about 12% of all time spent online in the U.S., it is an incredibly potent channel for advertisers.
Download the full whitepaper here to see analysis and four more tips. I wouldn’t be posting if it weren’t worth the download, swear!