Is Social Commerce For Real?

It’s Monday and it’s time to get our brains revved up for the week.  Let’s start with some thinking about Social Commerce.  This is a term used to describe marketing strategies that incorporate social media to make online buying and selling of products and services happen.  It’s actually what I write about a fair amount here on the screed since it’s separate and apart from the click to buy marketing (Free shipping this hour only!  50% off mukluks!) we see so often.  It’s really the more “conversational” part of marketing.   If you check in here from time to time you know that I’m a big advocate of that sort of stuff.  Then again, I could be terribly wrong and it might all be a waste of time.

Turns out that the good folks at UMass Dartmouth looked into it.  As they said:

This study, conducted by the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, is an in-depth look at current purchasing habits and trends of Millennials using three of the most widely used social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest).  In an effort to discern what turns a like, follow or pin into a sale, this study explores and analyzes lead conversion tactics as identified by Millennials themselves.  Also included is a look at mobile technology and its role in online purchasing by measuring percentage of sales conducted through smart phones versus tablets.

So what did they find?  They focused on Millennials.  For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are defined as the folks born between 1980 and 2000.  Not surprisingly, they found that social media did drive purchase.  62% of respondents currently like at least one brand on Facebook.  Twitter has 23% of respondents following a brand and Pinterest has 11% of Millennials pinning a brand (Nike is the most liked/followed brand).  But those actions can lead to revenue and not just online.

  • Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest contribute to both online and in-store purchasing.  Seventy-seven percent of Facebook users, 66% of Twitter users and 63% of Pinterest users are multi-channel shoppers.
  • Of those who reported they had never purchased something after liking, following or pinning it online, offering a coupon or discount was the most frequently cited lead conversion tactic for Millennials.  Respondents indicated this is the top motivator leading to a sale.  Similarly, Millennials indicated that companies giving exclusive offers or appealing to their interests were more likely to see an increase in sales as a result of online interaction.

You can read more about this study here but the “news” is this:

Millennials are leading the social commerce movement.  They are more likely than any other group to like/follow/pin companies and brands.  They are enticed by coupons and discounts, purchase hair/beauty products and apparel, often using mobile phones and tablets.  They are multi-channel shoppers, buying both online and in-store.  This cohort is active online in ways that allow them to connect, organize, stay informed and shop.  They spend more money on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest than other groups making them the ones to watch as social commerce surges forward.

In other words, engaging your audience, particularly your younger audience, is a valuable antecedent to making a sale.  So yes, Social Commerce does exist.  Aren’t you relieved?

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