A recent report last weekend pointed out that many big brands opened and closed shops on Facebook within the past year – undermining expectations that the social network will become a major revenue driver for retailers over the next decade. On the other hand, the rise of Pinterest (92nd Meetup), and its potential brings an interesting question about the future of Social Commerce, is it viable? and if yes, how does it look. This is what we set to discuss and dissect at the 93rd Social Media Breakfast.
The Beginning of the End of Facebook Stores?
Last week there was a report from Bloomberg that big brands like Gap, JCPenny are shutting down their Facebook stores after an year of operation. Facebook is not turning out a place to sell many feel, more like a place to communicate about deals. It was anticipated by many big players that Facebook would turn into a new destination for selling, but it didn’t. The fundamental learning was that being on Facebook is like hanging out at a bar or a party, and it became like peddling products and services at a place where users are not ready for it. (Pinterest on the other hand is a different game), So this brings us to the question – Can Retailers Harness The Power of Facebook? Some ideas we brainstormed – Personalized shopping experience, Facebook can bring a better personalization to your shopping experience, It must offer a new user experience, what’s new for the user in buying on Facebook if nothing different about it?
The Rise of Pinterest & The New Social Commerce
Pinterest on the other hand is growing leaps by the day and if you have noticed it has options to add price to your pins. So retailers can pin their product images, add a price to it and link it to the product on their store. This brings very qualified potentials to your store. By the same example of Facebook being a bar or a party, Pinterest is like a crafts bazaar. You go there expecting something cool. Also a point worthy of mention is that Pinterest is a Social Network of stuff, and it beats a social network of people (Facebook) when it comes to the business of selling.
What Defines Social Commerce?
The discussion on Social Commerce transcended into a funny debate about what constitutes social commerce and what doesn’t. We all agreed in the end that if the sales transaction happens directly through a social network, that would be social commerce. Many argued that promoting your products or services on Facebook or Twitter are also sending leads back to your store, but that’s the usual Social Media Marketing isn’t it? Social commerce would be about the last mile transactions, the closing of sales, cha ching!
By this definition even Pinterest may not be 100% Social Commerce, since it sends links back to your website. But a new player in the game – ‘Fancy‘ claims to add the commerce to the Pinterest model. This site some would say is like Pinterest but facilitates online sales directly on their website. Simar argued that if he wanted to sell his car and posted on Facebook, would that be social commerce? Komal felt that by promoting tweets linked back to products, she’s in fact part of social commerce. Aashish gave an example of a movie ticket booking app, which lets you add your friends to a movie plan, and buy tickets through the App on Facebook. Raghav on the other hand shared positive experience about using Pinterest for Affiliate marketing
The Last Word – Cha Ching!
The last word on it was about the final closing, the final transaction. If it brings cash into your register directly through social – That’s Social Commerce. (The debate isn’t over yet, you got the comments section below). The 93rd Social Media Breakfast turned out to be most entertaining one in a long time. if you missed this one, register early for the next one. All in all it was a valuable meeting with key learning about what works and what does not on Social Media for e-Commerce.