Just a few years ago social shopping was set to be the future of E-commerce, although it’s only just starting to catch on. The aim was to mimic the interactions which take place when browsing physical shops. Shoppers were encouraged to share their buying experiences with friends on social media sites where they could then ask advice and discuss their purchases. After an initial flop a new wave of social shopping looks set to dominate 2015.
The great social shopping phenomenon started off with the creation of a virtual reality world that goes by the name of Second Life. Within this digital space users are able to browse and make purchases in virtual reality shops. Even major brands such as Dell and Adidas were seen creating Second Life presences. Although the Second Life site continues to run, the social shopping element isn’t as influential as it was and major brands have severed ties with the virtual reality world. We hope social shopping’s actual second life is more successful than its first…
That’s the tagline of the social shopping service Soldsie. Soldsie works with well-known sites such as Facebook and Instagram to create an innovative social shopping experience. Users are able to post their products on social media sites so their customers can make purchases by leaving a comment. Shoppers simply have to leave the comment “sold” to express their purchase. From here they can continue browsing until they’re ready to check out which is when the item (or items) they initially commented on can be found in their shopping basket.
Although this is aimed more at products such as jewellery and clothing this development is good news for online bookings. With an increase in success will come an increase in development, including the ability to book via comment!
Techopedia helpfully defines F-commerce as:
“Facebook commerce (F-commerce) refers to e-commerce that is facilitated by the Facebook social media platform. Facebook is a major enterprise, with hundreds of millions of users and near-constant media exposure. Facebook commerce seeks to use elements of Facebook to drive sales.”
That’s right, Facebook is influential enough to have created its very own branch of E-commerce. Although F-commerce faced a number of challenges in 2012, from usability issues to people not being in the “shopping zone” when logging on to the site, the company appears to have as much determination as ever.
Launched and shortly shut-down Facebook Gifts was a gimmick created by the social network so users could go social shopping for digital gifts which they could send to their Facebook friends. The corresponding element of Facebook Credits aimed to incorporate E-commerce within the site through creation of a virtual currency. As the credits ended up primarily used within Facebook games the site discontinued the feature within the same year.
In 2015 Facebook looks set to continue its success in driving traffic to sites where purchases are made, rather than directly enabling sales to be made within the social network.
In September 2014 Twitter officially released the news that they’ve started testing their Twitter “buy” button. The button will enable users to buy directly from a Tweet. Twitter say this social shopping feature will improve functionality so online shopping is quick and easy. They believe “sellers will gain a new way to turn the direct relationship they build with their followers into sale”. But what does this mean for online bookings? Here at BookingLive we believe a “Book” button will soon come along but in the meantime businesses can incorporate the “Buy” button for vouchers and bookings such as courses and classes.
In regards to Facebook, companies need to ensure they aren’t overly pushing for sales to be made directly via the social networking site. Keep in mind that consumers are online to find out more about your company and interact: they’re looking to socialise rather than shop or make a booking. By giving users the option to book online through a Facebook App you’re more likely to make a sale due to lessening the feeling of pressure. Also remember Facebook works both ways in that you should include links to your social media pages on your website. Including “share” buttons on your booking pages increases the likelihood of social shopping as your customers’ friends will see the booking and ask about it – they may even book on for themselves!
The immense number of social media users online at any one time presents a terrific opportunity for social shopping in terms of sales and bookings. BookingLive can help ensure your business is social shopping ready through various features and integrations. Contact our Sales Executive to find out more today.