With the continued growth in ecommerce on a global scale, along with the advent of m-commerce, social media, and social or “s-commerce”, another layer of confusion has been added to the multichannel retail landscape. Demonstrating that retailers haven’t yet got to grips with all the opportunities presented to them, it is estimated that half of retailers don’t offer online recommendations to consumers.
According to social commerce and recommendations specialist nToklo, using user-generated content and recommendations on an ecommerce website could account for up to a 27 percent uplift in sales. With industry body IMRG reporting that online retail spend for 2011 was £68.2 billion in the UK, it can be argued that retailers missed out on an estimated £9 billion of additional revenue last year.
Retailers certainly appear to appreciate the importance of social media. But while more than 90 percent of respondents to a recent nToklo survey said they had a presence on Facebook and Twitter, at least a third of retailers didn’t use the integration technology the platforms can offer, such as Facebook Connect.
With these results in mind, nToklo produced a white paper to help online retailers refine their social commerce strategy. Here’s a quick summary of its top tips.
1. Be engaging
Allowing users to have a relationship with the retailer builds user engagement on-site, says nToklo. This can be achieved by:
• Allowing users to ask questions about products, whether in-store, through expert opinion, or online with real-time Q&A pages
• Accepting ratings and reviews from customers, whether good or bad
• Allowing users to be notified about topics and products of interest by “following” a topic of interest, for example
• Providing simple channels for user suggestions-effectively an online suggestion box
2. Be sharing
As important as it is to encourage customers to post their opinions on your site, it’s equally important to allow them to voice this opinion elsewhere. Allowing consumers the ability to share reviews and recommend products to other users, whether this is onsite or via other social networks, means consumers are able to become advocates for your brand in the social sphere. Most easily you can do this by adding Facebook’s Like and Pinterest’s Pin-it, as well as Twitter and Google+ buttons on your product pages.
3. Be sociable
Finally, to have a successful s-commerce strategy, you must be willing to be sociable; either engaging directly with consumers through social platforms or simply being open and transparent about issues that arise.
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