Although the idea of driving sales through the social channel isn't a new concept, it certainly seemed to gain momentum in 2014. Facebook and Twitter, for example, both confirmed that they are testing "Buy" call-to-action buttons within their newsfeeds this year. Not to mention that there is a variety of features and tools available that make it simple to sell products on other social networks too, such as Instagram and Pinterest.
Merchants that are ready to amp up their social commerce initiatives before 2014 comes to an end, however, should first explore all of the technologies and strategies available to make doing so an easier task. For inspiration, take a look at four examples of social shopping in action below:
Social Network: Instagram
For its social commerce initiatives on Instagram, Nordstrom leverages Curalate's recently launched Like2Buy feature, which enables the retailer to link its Instagram page to a gallery of shoppable Instagram photos. Then, when a photo from the shoppable gallery is clicked, consumers are sent to the appropriate section of Nordstrom's website to complete the purchase.
2. You Fresh Naturals
Social Network: Facebook
Paleo and gluten free snack retailer You Fresh Natural is selling products through the comment section of its Facebook page. This type of technology, which is offered by platforms like Soldsie, enables retailers to sell products on social networks like Facebook and Instagram through post comments. Consumers simply need to comment the word "Sold" (and in some cases, their email address too) in the comment section of a participating retailer's social post. After the comment is posted, consumers receive an email with an invoice of their order and are able to complete the checkout process.
3. Forever 21
Social Networks: Twitter
Forever 21 leveraged the Chirpify platform during the 2013 holiday season as a way to amplify its social commerce efforts. For those that are unfamiliar, Chirpify is a marketing conversion platform that enables brands to leverage "#actiontags" to promote marketing campaigns on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These #actiontags are essentially hashtags that when used, set off triggers and enable brands to collect consumer data.
According to the Chirpify case study, Forever 21 teamed up with the platform to promote holiday discounts to its Twitter followers. Consumers were simply required to retweet the retailer's original post containing the #Gimme and #ForeverHoliday actiontags to receive a 10 percent off promo code. When the consumer retweeted the post, Chirpify automatically messaged the consumer with the promo code and collected the consumer's data. It is important to note that this strategy not only influenced conversions, but also had a significant impact on Forever 21's organic reach because consumers were required to retweet the retailer's tweet.
Pinterest may be ahead of the social commerce curve, as the social network introduced its Rich Pin functionality in May 2013. Rich Pins are available in a variety of formats, including Product Pins, and are essentially Pins that display extra information, such as real-time pricing, availability and where the product can be purchased.
When retailers like ASOS incorporate Rich Pins into their website, it ensures that any time a consumer pins a product from the retailer's site it will include all of the necessary purchasing information so that ASOS has a better chance at receiving social conversions. What's more is that Pinterest launched a new Gifts Feed back in March that exclusively displays Product Pins, which provides retailers leveraging this Rich Pin functionality with additional opportunities to have their products discovered on the social network.
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