It seems that there’s a new game in town and all the big social networks want to play. What is it? eCommerce.
Facebook has toyed with this concept in the past with mixed results, allowing users to buy gifts for their friends with 1-click buying. They’ve also accepted payments for games. Now, they’re integrating a buy button in their platform so users can make purchases without ever having to leave Facebook.
Twitter has also been devising plans of their own. They recently acquired CardSpring , a start up payments infrastructure company and are now partnering with eCommerce giant Amazon so users can add items to their Amazon wish list with the simple use of a hashtag.
These changes have big implications for brands seeking to leverage social media platforms for eCommerce. We’ve put together four important considerations before jumping into eCommerce on social media:
Twitter’s recent partnership with Amazon is brand new. It's important that they chose such a big player, rather than a smaller app or brand. This is a smart move, since Amazon as a shopping mechanism is trusted. This could help with early adoption of this new buy mechanism. However, there are still kinks to be worked out and data be collected to see if consumers will use this method for buying.
Facebook has tried to sell products before and it didn't work, as seen by their delving into Gifts. We're not sure how this test, being that it's a bit different take, will pan out. Given the outcome of Gifts, though, we're not as quick to jump on the bandwagon with Twitter and say it will usher in a new realm of social eCommerce. The verdict has yet to be seen.
A tension exists for brands with regards to social media adoption. When new tools are released, you can either sit tight and wait to see how things play out before jumping in, or adopt the new tool early. Sometimes if you get in early, you can make a lot of money because the cost is low to run a certain type of ad or new selling tool. There isn’t as much competition driving up the prices. Other times, it has a backlash of some kind and can be detrimental. This new option could go either way. You will need to make the decision for your brand based off of factors such as funding, knowledge and the resources you have to give this a shot.
Another thing to consider is the lack of reviews in the functionality. Reviews are a massive thing, given people's training and use of them on Amazon and other top eCommerce platforms. It doesn't appear that reviews are a part of the Twitter and Amazon integration, which could prevent consumers from using it. We'll have to see how Twitter and Facebook adjust for this, or if they do at all.
Lastly, it is critical to never put your eggs into one basket, so to speak, with social media. Don't drop everything and try out these ads as your next end-all option. Keep working on your shopping cart experience, SEO, email campaigns, and other social media campaigns. Be strategic and open to these new ways of doing social selling, but realize who your target audience is and if they're slow adapters, don't rush into this - they're not there, so you shouldn't be.
What do you think of the implementation of eCommerce on social media platforms? Are you prepared to embrace it, or are you planning on waiting to see how it all plays out before jumping in the game?