2013 is sure to bring plenty of exciting new developments in the world of social commerce. Don’t get left in the dark – check out our predictions and recommendations so you can be on top of your social game.
The ball has dropped, the champagne flutes have been clinked, and the “Auld Lang Syne” has been sung. Now that we’re past the party and solidly into the new year, it’s time to take a practical look at online retail strategy in 2013. We all know there are many components to building and maintaining a vibrant online presence, and one of the most important aspects is undoubtedly social media.
Let’s peer into the Volusion crystal ball for some predictions about social commerce trends we’ll be seeing as the year unfolds.
Prediction: If you thought online reviews were just for Yelpers who want to nitpick the hottest new restaurant, think again. Online user reviews will become even more important to shoppers before purchasing products from online retailers.
Recommendation: It’s one thing for you to describe your products in a positive light, but it’s much more convincing for a potential customer to read glowing reviews from other satisfied users. According to a December 2012 survey by Ipsos, 78% of online Americans aged 18-64 agreed that online reviews influence their purchasing decisions. Harness this influence by adding product review or site-wide review capabilities to your Volusion store and encourage your regular customers to review and share their experiences on their social accounts by adding sharing buttons to your review page.
Prediction: While social commerce on Facebook hasn’t quite lived up to the hype it was cultivating, expect to see some new developments in the world of f-commerce – think new, more advanced Facebook apps for ecommerce, perhaps even a Paypal-esque Facebook payment method.
Recommendation: Since we’re not sure exactly what types of new developments Facebook will be rolling out in the world of social commerce this year, the best thing to do is to make sure your Facebook presence is sharp and up-to-date. Keep your eyes peeled for announcements (and even well-founded rumors) floating around the internet. Take the time to read the Facebook Developers blog every now and then… and check back with us right here at The Ecommerce Authority, because we always have our feelers out for new and exciting social news.
Prediction: LinkedIn is no longer just a resume platform, and as time goes on it will become increasingly relevant as a multifaceted social sharing platform.
Recommendation: Have you written off LinkedIn as a stuffy professional database? Time to rethink your strategy. They rolled out a more visual, detailed new layout in Fall 2012, featuring one-click endorsements and the addition of sections like Publications and Patents. We expect to see more options to add images and multimedia as time goes on. Even if you have a day job, don’t be afraid to integrate some information (and links, of course!) regarding your online store on your LinkedIn profile and join relevant ecommerce and retail LinkedIn groups. Also, make sure your Skills & Expertise section is up-to-date so friends and colleagues can endorse your merchant experience.
Prediction: The internet, social media in particular, will continue to zoom full speed ahead in its visually driven direction, thanks to the popularity of Instagram, Pinterest, etc. (Have you checked out Mashable’s recent redesign? Talk about splashy!) All web-based endeavors – including online retail – will follow suit.
Recommendation: The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is well-known for a reason – it’s true! Beyond taking a look at your online store to make sure all its images are up-to-date and of high quality, examine your social pages as well. Are your Twitter and Facebook profile images eye-catching and clear? Instead of just posting links to your products on Twitter, take advantage of its new internal photo editing and filtering capacities and post accompanying images. Same goes for Facebook – regularly post brilliant images of your products instead of just links back to your store. This will also boost your chances of showing up in your Facebook followers’ newsfeeds. And let’s not forget what really propelled this trend last year: Pinterest. Take the time to regularly update your Pinboards with your latest products as well as inspirations and relevant repins.
Prediction: While its popularity has been tenuous, Google+ will definitely be sticking around, not as “just another Facebook,” but as a networking hub featuring its new Communities, Events and Hangouts features.
Recommendation: If you’ve been putting off developing your G+ presence, resolve to change that in 2013. Instead of thinking about amassing followers in your Circles as you would amass likes on Facebook, think about leveraging Google+ as a networking platform where you can share information, ideas, and images regarding your products. First things first, make sure your About page has engaging, concise information about your store and products, and include links to your site and social channels. In following with the “images are everything” trend, don’t ignore G+ when adding visuals of new products to your social media outlets (and add hashtags in your image captions!). Join and post to the new G+ Communities, +1 posts that relate to your store, and follow ecommerce influencers (for instance, may we suggest the Volusion Google+) for news and tips.
The world of social commerce will certainly be going through some exciting changes this year, so keep checking back here on the blog for the latest scoop. Embrace new ecommerce developments, and you’re sure to have a thrilling and prosperous 2013!
– Emily Teachout, Volusion