Social media buy buttons: A new layer on eCommerce?

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Can social media buy buttons help boost your eCommerce sales?

The link between mobile ads and conversion rate have often been obscure. Despite that mobile is ubiquitous, mobile ads just don’t seem to stack up against desktop ads. Many mobile users still ditch their mobiles and switch their laptops on to finish the payments.

Can social media ‘buy buttons’ change that relationship? From Twitter, Instagram to Pinterest, social media have been rolling out eCommerce-like ‘Buy Button’ functionalities for their users.

The most recent social commerce move by Pinterest introduced ‘’buyable pin’’ buttons to let iPhone users easily purchase almost anything they can find using Apple Pay or Credit Card.

How will social media buy buttons benefit all of us?

Consistent shopping experience

The whole point of buyable buttons is to allow the users to purchase directly, without being redirected, on the same page. Consumers can find key product information and secure payment without their experiences being disrupted by jumping from one interface to another.

Social media have often created ‘affiliate traffic’ to eCommerce or website through intriguing visual content. But social networks also evolved to become a hub of reliable reviews, opinions for brands and products from people we’re following. So wouldn’t it be great if we, as consumers, could get all the important information and purchase on the same place?

Adding more fun to shopping

Social commerce might mean the end of dull shopping experience people often go through on Amazon or eBay. Shoppers are more likely to be ‘inspired’ by browsing through visual contents on Pinterest or Instagram.

More insightful data

From the retailer’s perspective, buy buttons not only expand larger consumer market (there are about 70 million pinners per month). They can also help collect essential data on valuable users – those who have or have not clicked on the buy button, and others who have clicked and yet converted. Whether they’re after kitchen decoration ideas or wedding gift inspiration, social media like Pinterest act as an alternative source of search engine that eventually help users find what they need later on. Social commerce is perfect for a relationship building,  in which amazon often lags behind.

By tapping into customer’s connectivity within an online community, retailers can build healthier relationships with consumers.

‘’What social networks have is the audience and they’ve built the community, and what retailers have is the e-commerce infrastructure. We’re coming at it from the other angle – we already have the e-commerce infrastructure and we’re just building the social layer on the top.’’

The challenges facing social commerce

‘Users don’t typically think of social networks as places to visit when they want to buy something, and inserting Buy buttons into these platforms might repel people as much as ads tend to do.’ (from WIRED)

The most concerned of all is that ‘can buy buttons / social commerce crack the trust issue?’ Facebook is already jammed with ads and salesy contents, so wouldn’t new buy buttons merely drive users away?

Can we change the consumer ‘mindset’?

Here is another interesting point highlighted by a study: most consumers on Pinterest are not in the mood of ‘’get the shopping done and let’s go’’. Rather, the user’s attitude on Pinterest is ‘more akin to visiting a shopping all with lots of stores under one roof’. They go around and look for inspiration, rather than having a specific ‘mission’ in mind. The sort of spontaneous discovery is what makes social commerce fun, while purchasing decision may not come straightforward.

Be aware of users

Retailers will need to consider to whom the buy buttons are exposed. Keep in mind that Instagram and Pinterest are predominantly female user-oriented (almost 80 percent in the case of Pinterest), social commerce might not be suitable for every retailer.

The final note

Retailers who fail to integrate social in eCommerce will also overlook the sales opportunities derived from new buyable buttons. Having said that, it is crucial that retailers understand the strengths and weaknesses of each social channels. Until social media encompass all-in-one social commerce ecosystem, we will still have reasons to visit Amazon.

Social media buy buttons

(Image via Jordan Dawe, Flickr)

 

(Cover image via Gavin Firkser, Flickr)

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