2010 was the year that social media definitely established itself in the e-commerce landscape. The various social platforms have been viewed as the ‘great new promise’ for web shoppers for quite some time. But now, clever applications have been supported with impressive figures. Social media have matured from being a hype to a powerful instrument that online shoppers can benefit from during every step of their purchasing process. Following is a summary of the most successful ‘social’ e-commerce cases in 2010:
Before discussing the most inspiring e-commerce applications of social media, we have to identify the four most important steps in the customer purchasing process. Jungle Minds lists the Finest Fifty every year, a collection of the best and most innovative real-life e-commerce examples. These best practices are arranged in the following steps of the customer purchasing process:
- Reach: Be present at locations frequented by the target group
This includes all activities of web retailers outside the domain of your own website, such as iPad/iPhone applications and sales through Twitter, Facebook and Hyves.
- Attract: Draw relevant visitors to your website
This includes ‘classic’ online marketing, such as e-mail marketing, affiliate marketing and search engine optimization.
- Convert: Convert viewers into buyers
This includes all applications on your own website, from clever search engines to an optimum ordering process.
- Retain: Offer good service to existing customers
Here we describe, among other things, how to encourage repeat purchases, smart loyalty programmes and personalized cross and upsell.
‘Reach’: Social media as e-commerce platforms
Facebook shops mushroomed last year, and the real e-commerce giants seem to be taking Facebook as a sales platform seriously (for example, Asos recently announced that they are going to offer their entire product range through Facebook).
We provide a perfect example in Finest Fifty. Mark Girl is a cosmetics brand that targets younger women. The company uses representatives to sell its products. This is a young target group, so Facebook, with more than half a billion potential customers, is the ultimate sales platform for Mark. Mark uses a Facebook application to put its representatives in the position to easily sell cosmetics to friends on Facebook. Representatives use their own social network to recruit customers, who can subsequently select and buy their products without having to exit Facebook.
‘Attract’: Use social media to attract more visitors to your website
The Spa Amsterdam Zuiver case proves that e-mail and social media have a great deal to offer each other. This company launched an e-mail campaign to reach a larger group of people. The recipients of the e-mail could only make use of the e-mail promotion after they had placed it on Hyves, Facebook or Twitter. With these social sharing options, the campaign’s ultimate conversion resulted in seven times more link-through opportunities. This was especially attributable to the fact that social sharing had increased explosively.
‘Convert’: Using social media as a conversion booster
The average person using internet has between 10 and 20 online accounts (e-mail, social networks, web shops, etc.). A user account provides both the shop retailer and the customer with many benefits, and yet having to create an account can be a serious obstacle. And that puts pressure on conversion. Divine Caroline (an American lifestyle site) uses social media to remove this obstacle. This company offers the opportunity to log in with an external account (for example, Facebook or Twitter). Their registrations have increased by 12% since they introduced this option. Moreover, the Open ID link ensures that more than 10% of the content on Divine Caroline’s site is also placed on social networks. And this produces another seven new visitors for each person who logs into Facebook or Twitter.
‘Retain’: Maintain customer relations through social media
The ‘location-based services’ phenomenon is developing swiftly. Foursquare is the largest social network based on user location (even though Facebook Places is on its way)! The American fashion retailer Ann Taylor is gladly taking advantage of Foursquare to solidify the company’s bond with customers. Shoppers see a message with every fifth visit to a branch store (and check-in on Foursquare): ‘show your mobile device at the register to receive 15% off your full-price purchase’. In other words, a ‘thank you’ for the customer’s return visit. This is how Ann Taylor encourages customers to check in. Moreover, every check-in means free advertising for Ann Taylor in the customer’s circle of friends.
More e-commerce inspiration?
Are you interested in learning about more inspiring e-commerce cases, the figures of the best online retailers and more than 100 best practice tips? The 2011 Finest Fifty has been available since January at Jungle Minds’ website.