Social Media and e-Commerce Go Hand in Hand

Written on
Feb 5, 2010 
Gabe Dennison  |

skipping_smallADOTAS – It’s no surprise that retailers were among the first groups to make their online experience more social — many a brand has been built on the power of word of mouth.

Applications like product reviews, recommendations and ratings are years old, and emerged as the most popular social media tools way before the term “social media” was actually coined. They enabled customers to find out what their peers were thinking, and provided valuable user data and feedback to the retailer which could be reviewed in “real-time.”

Retailers today continue to have a great opportunity to leverage social media in a way that’s both beneficial and effective for consumers and for themselves. And while it’s known that retailers are true pioneers in social media, the fact is that many still struggle with ways to fully integrate it with their e-commerce platforms.

Building a truly interactive social media community within an e-commerce platform is important as it creates a more efficient retail environment where customer opinions, relevant content and product information are freely distributed. It is only then that “social commerce” can happen.

To accomplish “social commerce,” retailers must be able to integrate social media elements, such as social networking features and user generated content platforms, directly into their commerce environments.

IBM is one technology provider that has responded to customers’ desires to have a more interactive online experience by creating a comprehensive social commerce platform. Utilizing tools provided by Pluck, IBM is now able to offer advanced “social commerce” capabilities to its current customers or prospects, thus enabling retailers to integrate the social experience seamlessly between online shopping and social networking communities like Facebook and MySpace.

As a result, retailers can create and own a unique social experience that encompasses the entire customer lifecycle — generating a positive outcome for the retailer, and for its customers. Customers can enjoy a more integrated shopping experience that stretches across their social networks, and retailers will start to see an increase in unique visitors that are predisposed to their messages. Ultimately, this will result in more streamlined marketing efforts and lower operational costs.

Instead of selling to nameless, faceless shoppers, retailers can build relationships with real customers by enabling them to establish user profiles that pull in data — and relationships — to retailer websites. Customers can then interact with other shoppers, join groups centered around product-related topics, rate and react to product content, contribute project journals and how-to content, and answer each others’ questions about products and use cases. The retailer, meanwhile, gains the opportunity to build a long-term relationship — and a “social CRM” practice — around these efforts.

As the online world continues to evolve and become more competitive, understanding how to merge e-commerce with social media is critical for retail success. “Social commerce” integrates new media, via user generated content platforms and social networking features, directly onto commerce sites. By building and maintaining vibrant communities that address the passion of the retailer’s core audience, and then spreading that passion to the larger social web, retailers will attract loyal and engaged customers, and will achieve better business results.

As Product Marketing Manager for Pluck, a Demand Media company, Gabe oversees product marketing, and has worked to move Pluck into multiple new markets within the social media industry.

In addition, Gabe’s wide range of responsibilities across Pluck’s marketing and business development sectors have provided him with an informed perspective on how social media has evolved over the past few years to drive business value for a variety of different companies, which has resulted in large company growth.

Since Gabe joined Pluck in 2007, the company’s network of customer sites has grown from approximately 100 media company sites, to over 400 leading media, retail and brand sites.

Before moving into product marketing when Pluck was acquired by Demand Media in 2008, Gabe was responsible for working on new business and strategic development projects, including the development of Pluck’s social media advertising project, the development of Pluck’s partner network, and key initiatives around the company’s content distribution platform, BlogBurst syndication network – which powers more than three billion social media interactions each month and is used by many of the world’s leading publishers, brands and retailers.

Reader Comments.

Your artical was very informative. I have been tasked with a new project which involves building a web strategy which combines ecommerce and social networking. We are a non-financial company who sells prepaid debit cards to the unbanked, and want to add a social media component. I am slightly overwhelmed by the information that’s available, and am having a difficult time finding sample strategies that I could use as a reference. If you could point me to some websites or resources, that would be great.

Posted by Mary Fitzpatrick | 10:23 am on March 29, 2010.

Great read, I think its right on….do you think incorporating social will help retailers this holiday season..?

Posted by vincent gentile | 7:01 pm on October 7, 2010.

Best example for “Social Media and e-Commerce Go Hand in Hand” is Facebook!!

Posted by store on facebook | 5:56 am on May 25, 2011.

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