Social Commerce – How Social could be the Game Changer this Holiday Season.

The penetration of mobile smartphones and the increasing influence of social networks on the consumer shopping experience could see social commerce really take off this holiday season. New simple methods of making a purchase (buy buttons) within the social network offer consumers a very immediate opportunity to make a purchase.

According to research by Deloitte 78% of smartphone owners intend to use their device for this year’s November – January holiday season. The connected consumer will use this device for a range of shopping related functions; related to pure online shopping or making a visit to the store. The connectedness of the consumer is indeed influential across the retail landscape; online sales are expected to grow 6-8% to $105 billion but interestingly “digitally influenced sales will affect $434 billion; or 64% of in store sales.”

Social networks continue to proliferate in importance along the purchase journey; an increase of 3% over the previous year. However with the recent introduction of ‘buy’ buttons that allow simple in-app / social network purchases it is likely this statistic will see dramatic growth in the next year. There has for some time been a disparity between the % of consumers viewing a product on their mobile device and the amount of successful transactions. According to Patrick Collison, co-founder of Stripe only about 15% of e-commerce sales happen on a mobile phone whereas 60% of buyers are viewing the item they want to buy on their mobile. New payment functionality within Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter promise to fuel an explosion of social commerce revenue this holiday season.

According to the Deloitte research consumers will use social networks for a wide array of shopping related functions. Looking for gift ideas, seeking out discounts, reading reviews but also critically expressing what they might want or highlighting to friends of family links to offers or products. Social commerce is intrinsically linked to the sharing of information between consumers – and major brands are understanding that within this data are powerful expressions of ‘intent’ – that is an interest, consideration or definite intent to make a purchase of a particular product or service. The ‘sharing’ of this information is far more potent than the ‘moments’ spent on a web site or within ‘search’ functions. Social commerce signals appear to be far more definitive; users are expressing to their friends or family what their ‘intent’ is based on the research they have completed.

Social ‘in’ moments happen in real-time; and considering ‘intent’ is more definitive retailers and brands need to act in a timely fashion. This is especially the case with for instance with a decision on a new mobile phone. As we previously published on this blog consumers use social networks to announce a decision between one brand or another when seeking a new mobile phone; 46% of ‘intent’ signals in social data relate to the ‘consideration’ phase. Having a strategy to identify consumers demonstrating purchase ‘intent’ signals on social networks and meeting them in the moment with a coupon, deal or pertinent product information would significantly drive new sales and revenue; monetizing data in moments. This is the next wave of retail; real-time interaction and personalization of content with your existing or new customer; being relevant and in line with their purchase path.

With the reduction in ‘friction’ to make a purchase on social networks with new ‘buy’ buttons there is a significant opportunity this holiday season for retailers and brands to capture spend. Twitter retrospectively work out that on their network alone there are 50m+ posts a month that demonstrate purchase intent; the ability to find this ‘intent’ in real-time and engage the consumer down their path to purchase could see social commerce explode this holiday season.

About Chatterbox Labs

Chatterbox Labs are a Data Science company operating in the areas of Machine Learning & Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology. Having spent 6 years in academia completing our multi-lingual machine learning technology framework and product suite, we are commercially exploiting the $116bn market opportunity including monetising real-time short-form social data in global markets. Our patent pending technology is disrupting commerce markets by pinpointing the ‘in’ moments on the consumer path to purchase. Chatterbox Labs’ leading product, Path 2 Purchase, monetizes real-time data streams to cut through the noise in billions of online conversations and pinpoint high value in-moment buyers across their path to purchase.

For more information please contact Andrew Watson, VP Strategic Alliances, or visit our web site