Two social commerce topics that created the biggest stir this year were location-based social networks like Foursquare and Facebook Places, and group coupon deals championed by sites like Groupon and Living Social. Groupon became the year’s leading social commerce newsmaker when it reportedly spurned a $6 billion acquisition offer by Google earlier in December.
Social commerce garnered much of my attention in 2010 as well, resulting in a series of articles here on the topic. In this, my final article for 2010, I list the ten most popular, based on (a) the highest number of clicks from Facebook and Twitter, (b) the total number of page views, and (c) the greatest reach within social media from Twitter “retweets.”
1. 10 Free Facebook Apps for Ecommerce Merchants
Here is a list of ten free Facebook apps for ecommerce businesses divided into four categories: Landing Page Creation, Email Marketing, Facebook Shopping Carts, and Other.
2. 3 Group Coupon Companies for Purely Ecommerce Merchants
Group coupon deals tend to favor local merchants. Here are three companies that provide group coupon buying alternatives for online businesses.
3. ‘Deal-of-the-Day’ Coupons Help Merchants Attract Customers; 4 Tips
The deal of the day group coupon-buying concept appeals mostly to local brick-and-mortar retailers and large retail brands. But ecommerce merchants can take advantage of the trend by offering coupons on deal-of-the day sites as a method to attract new customers.
4. Social Media Improves Online Trust: 4 Tips
Consumers will not buy products from a merchant whom they mistrust. Social media can help overcome that reluctance to purchase by making trust a foundational operating principle.
5. Email Providers Embrace Social Media: 4 Examples
Email service providers are integrating email marketing with social media, leading to renewed vitality and interest in the genre. This article reviews four popular ESPs in terms of how well they have incorporated social media into their respective platforms.
6. Facebook Encourages Ecommerce; App-Makers Respond
Facebook designates Fan pages for businesses to engage users and app-makers are rushing in to provide social commerce features designed to benefit the smaller merchant.
7. Social Media: Four Steps to Effective Marketing Strategy
This article proposes a practical, four-part social commerce strategy that minimizes the time required participating in social media and that recognizes the overall purpose is to grow sales.
8. Four Apps to Create Facebook ‘Welcome’ Pages
Thousands of ecommerce businesses have Facebook Fan pages. But making those pages stand out from competitors’ pages is a challenge. One of the ways to distinguish yours is through the use of a custom landing page, also known as a “Welcome” tab.
9. Retailer Spends Little Money for Big Social Media Impact
Online retailer Layla Grayce’s use of free and low-cost applications from a variety of vendors that makes the company’s approach a worthy model to follow by other merchants.
10. Social Media’s Effect on Holiday Sales
A spokesman for competitive intelligence service Hitwise reported via Twitter that the percentage of traffic ecommerce sites received from social media was 4.39 percent for the “top 500” ecommerce sites on Black Friday. With a number as low as that, why bother?
Looking Forward to 2011
There is currently a great deal of hype concerning social commerce. Over the next few weeks, I plan to take an ecommerce merchant’s point of view and give careful, unbiased consideration to uncover both its pitfalls and possibilities. I will be asking hard questions, such as:
- What percentage of tangible goods is actually being sold via Facebook and other social media channels?
- How can merchants manage back-end inventory and accounting issues with a separate Facebook store?
- What common marketing and merchandising features that online merchants depend on need to be included in Facebook shopping carts before it can be seen as a viable ecommerce platform?
- Is it in a merchant’s best interest to put a social media channel such as Facebook between the merchant and his customer?
- What role does social media play in the overall marketing mix and can it serve as an aligned channel along with other forms of marketing?
Social commerce may well deserve a place in the ecommerce merchant’s marketing toolkit. My goal in this series of articles will be to determine just what that is, if any.