Where Social Media Is Headed for Online Retailers & E-Commerce

t-shirtsSocial media use been growing at an astonishing rate over the past several years, and it’s important for online retailers to take notice. According to Hubspot, social media use in the United States has increased 356% in the last 7 years, and Nielsen reported that nearly 70% of adults who partake in social media buy products or services digitally.

Social outlets are constantly evolving to make the relationships and transactions between online retailers and their customers smoother and more efficient.

Not only are social networks finding ways to improve user experience, but new platforms are being developed every day. These new features and sites are making it easier than ever for consumers to find products they’re looking for at prices that meet their needs.

Below are just a few new features and platforms that could be very exciting in the online retail industry:

  • Pinterest
    In May, Pinterest rolled out new product pins which included the pricing, availability and where to buy the products. Now it’s taken another step forward by notifying users via email when something they pinned goes on sale.
  • Facebook
    The new version of Facebook Offers, which began testing in February, is coming to mobile. Previously, when selecting an offer, users could only choose “Get Offer.” Now, as part of the test, individuals see two buttons: “Shop Now” and “Remind Me.” By choosing the “Remind Me” option, Facebook will remind you when an offer is about to end, making this method of online sales more effective.
  • OSHa’Re
    This new social e-commerce platform allows users to upload a photos of an item of clothing, and then generates a results page with matches for that outfit. OSHa’Re users can also create lists of clothing and accessories and can “like,” share and comment on those items. Right now, the platform is only available in Taiwan, but if expanded, could signal a great opportunity for online clothing retailers everywhere.
  • Flipboard 2.0
    Flipboard launched 3 years ago and allows users to browse content through live, magazine-style feeds. It is now launching Flipboard 2.0 with updated features, including a new “buy” button on products that allows users to add the item to a shopping cart.
  • Square
    Introduced in June, Square Market allows retailers to open “virtual stores” to list goods and services. What’s really exciting about this platform is that it makes local businesses accessible to customers across the country, and it’s completely free.

Many of the platforms listed are still being tested, but it will be interesting to see how (and if) online retailers use these new features.

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Prepare for the August 2014 shopping search transition with Google Shopping and data feed optimization:

Guide: The New Google Shopping

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Photo courtesy of epSos.de via Flickr.

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