Some marketers may be tempted to dismiss social media since it drives a much smaller share of online sales. That, however, is a mistake. Internet Retailer reports that the top 500 retailers earned $3.3 billion from social shopping last year—up 26% from 2013. Compare that to the 16% growth rate for the overall e-commerce market in the United States.
That growth is why leading social-commerce strategists convened at ad:tech New York in early November. In a spirited panel, representatives for digital giants like eBay and Sony PlayStation broke down how marketers can make social media more than just a traffic driver. Social, they said, is a revenue generator if leveraged properly. Here’s a snapshot of what they had to say about cashing in on social commerce.
“Marketers are struggling to understand how to put money to work to get the best results possible. That’s because people are on a number of different devices at different times. I have always been a huge fan of orienting around the customer. Social allows marketers to do that. Social is ubiquitous.”—Lance Neuhaser, CEO, 4C
“Social is a huge opportunity. It’s a whole funnel of opportunity for every brand. Through no other channel can you so simply inspire potential customers.”—Brad Matthews, senior director of social commerce and CRM, eBay Inc.
“Let me tell you what’s next on social commerce: curated content, personalization. Personalization is key. Users love to have new choices and try new paths.”—Ryan Ring, director of digital development, PETROL (representing Sony PlayStation)
“Move the message and content closest to the customer. Instead of trying to get them to come to you, go to them. Social helps you do that.”—Pieter Meese, CEO and cofounder, Zentrick
“I feel that we’re finally on the precipice of realizing the potential of social e-commerce. The future is here; it’s just not widely distributed.”—Neuhaser
“Social allows you to collect a huge amount of data and [then] craft content [stemming from] that social data and specifically for those individuals. So if you connect social to your commerce—more than once—you’ll start to see a significant difference in response and results.”—Matthews
“Our users aren’t going to listen to us. They’re listening to their peers. So we had to keep that in mind when crafting a social commerce experience.… So remember that cohesive and immersive experiences build brand trust. Engagement is earned through share-worthy content.”—Ring
“If you’re talking to a social audience and you’re not authentic, people will see right through that. Be genuine, and stay on brand. Talk from the heart, and you’ll see greater response.”—Meese
“It’s not about posting just anything on social. It’s about sparking debate, conversation, collaboration, and innovation.”—Ring