Social media holds a sizable promise for retailers, giving them access to users that are highly engaged and all-to-willing to share their favorite things. And while some social media sites are slowly inching their way towards fully-integrated e-commerce, others continue to stay firmly in the digital advertising realm…at least for now.
With these possibilities, retailers have more tools than ever to drive e-commerce sales. Here are four ways retailers can turn that “like” on social media into a “buy.”
Twitter has been inching towards e-commerce for a while, with many pointing to the hire of former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard as the catalyst to its efforts. Amazon currently has a feature on the social media site where users can add items to their Amazon shopping cart by replying to tweets with the hashtag #AmazonCart.
But Twitter seems to have stepped it up a notch with the test of a buy button on mobile in July. Just last week, Recode reported that the social media company is working with payments startup Stripe to make this buy button a reality for all retailers later this year.
While Instagram is a social network with high engagement that continues to grow, it holds a unique position as one of the only digital advertising product that users cannot physically click off of. Curalate, a two-year-old online marketing company, bridges the gap between Instagram and sales, curating user-generated images of brands’ merchandise for companies to display on their website. Once on the retailer’s site, these images become shop-able, allowing site visitors to buy the exact wares featured in the picture with one click. According to CEO Apu Gupta, Curalate client Urban Outfitters saw 20% click-through rates on the posted “shop it” buttons next to fans’ Instagram images, along an increase in revenue, conversion rates, and order values when used.
On Tuesday, Target and Nordstrom announced that the companies will be working with Curalate to launch "Like2Buy," a platform that will allow the brands' followers to directly shop from the app.
“Pinterest sends vast amounts of traffic to brands, and that traffic converts at a very high rate,” said Gupta, which works with the social media site for Curalate’s retail clients. But while many retailers have found success marketing on Pinterest’s image-heavy interface, buying products on the site still requires a second click offsite to buy. Gupta believes that this will change soon, saying that the network’s “rich pins,” which offer a product’s pricing and inventory on the pin, is just a leeway to a physical buy button.
“If you look at the evolution of the development of Pinterest, everything points to that direction,” said Gupta. The only question, according to Gupta, will be what type of relationship retailers will have with the social media site once a buy button is introduced, whether they will charge an affiliate fee or something more.
Although not a social company per se, mobile shopping app Spring has all the characteristics of users’ favorite social media sites. Users are presented Instagram-like products from brands’ curated selection of items, and can swipe through them and “like” merchandise if they are interested.
The company entered the marketplace recently after raising $7.5 million in Series A funding in July, and is currently working with around 100 brands, including Alice + Olivia, Stella, and Rebecca Minkoff.