Facebook and Twitter have made great strides in establishing ecommerce onto their social networks in recent weeks. Now buying a new pair of shoes or the birthday present for your friend’s child could be as simple as looking at their profile and clicking ‘buy now’ via a social buy button.
Some top brands have already tested at least one social buy button with US brand Old Navy leading the way when they started experimenting with Twitter’s version.
At the same time, Facebook announced the development of other buttons that will lead to transactions, including a “sell [something] button”.
Why Are Social Media Networks Developing A ‘Social Buy Button’?
The reasons for the jump into ecommerce for social media platforms are clear. While social media marketing by brands is reported to only contribute to 1% of all online purchases, 81% of consumers are persuaded by their connections’ good reviews. By relating the content published by consumers to products, social media networks are hoping to tap into the impulse purchasing frame of mind.
Another reason is that Facebook and Twitter see an opportunity to take a cut of the $50 billion a year interchange rates that are made by credit cards. If Facebook and Twitter could claim 2% of each credit card’s market share they will increase their annual revenue by 14% and 150% respectively. Therefore, there are huge cash gains to be made for both networks.
At the same time, it makes social media more applicable for businesses. One of biggest problems is the leakage of social media selling. Before the social buy button, customers would have to find the product on a trusted seller and then purchase the item via their system. Unless the friend has left a buying link; this can be a lengthy process that offers more chances for the consumer to abandon the process. By integrating the process into social media networks, the time from product discovery to purchasing is significantly shortened.
The buy buttons also solves other problems. Between the time when a potential customer clicks on a link to a product or landing page there are numerous errors which can occur. Some of the most common include broken links, incorrect links, poor website loading time and outdated stock information. This all leads to abandonment as well.
Therefore, it is theorised that the inclusion of social media buy buttons will decrease abandonment and increase the contribution that social media has with online purchases.
For business there are other benefits as well if they choose to use buy buttons on their own published comments. For starters, it will offer real time data on the success of their campaigns. Facebook and Twitter already make data available on how frequently your content is performing and with the new buy button you can tie in exposure with actual sales. Therefore, the value of social media can be made more tangible.
Businesses Need To Get To Work
Yet, while the potential for social buy buttons is clearly viable, there is still some work businesses need to do. First, they need to establish who they are targeting and ensure that their audience is online and it may not be suitable for all audiences. For instance, a business to business organisation who uses Twitter for customer service, may find that the social buy button will attract no clicks. Yet a retailer marketing its clothes line on Facebook could easily recoup investment. It’s all about understanding the strategy, the target audience and the content being delivered and then you can determine whether the buy buttons are for you.
Even if you think the social buy button is for you, you still need to acquire a large following on the networks. This means investing heavily in Facebook and Twitter campaigns to grow likes and followers respectively.
Trust Is The Issue With A Social Buy Button
With the new social buy button there is the problem of trust. Small businesses that are new to social media need to start building trust with their audience to encourage purchases. The biggest problem is that every few months there are fraud or data leak stories becoming headline news. These can worry customers, especially with small, unestablished organisations.
Even if Facebook and Twitter handle all the transactions, customers may worry about what is being done with their data when they make a purchase. It would only take a coincidental increase in cold calls, spam letters or emails to convince them you’ve sold on their data.
To prevent this from being a problem there are several options for businesses. Good content, clear communications and a clean appearance should help build trust. At the same time, a clear link to your privacy terms should be visible on your website. Yet, the best course of action is to be friendly, approachable and honest.
Conclusion On The Social Buy Button
Social media buy buttons could shake up the industry and give businesses the chance to improve revenue and the return on investment they make with Facebook and Twitter. To achieve this, businesses must ensure they have large, highly engaged audiences who trust them and are interested in buying on social media networks.