5 Ways to Make Your Online Store More Social

Social commerce grew 60 percent last year, earning the top 500 online retailers $2.69 billion, according to a report by BI Intelligence. That’s just a fraction of sales from other marketing channels, but it’s growing at a more significant rate (compare the 60 percent social commerce increase to a 17 percent increase in e-commerce on a whole). With social media channels driving more and more sales, it’s important to not only focus on your off-site social media efforts, but to also bring those social aspects to your site. The following are five ways to make your online store more social:

1. Reviews

Nearly 80 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, according to a survey by BrightLocal. Allowing users to submit and read product reviews is extremely important for your e-commerce site. If your site doesn’t offer reviews directly on the page, customers may leave to go find reviews, and it’s possible they will never return to make a purchase, finding both the review and the product elsewhere.

Just adding the ability to submit reviews doesn’t mean you’ll get them, however. You must have a strategy for soliciting reviews. Send a follow-up email after the consumer has received the product, asking about their experience and encouraging them to submit a review. You can also include alerts on your site when the user signs into their account, asking them to review recent purchases. Amazon does a great job of this via emails and throughout the site.

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Amazon prompts users to review recent purchases when they log into the site.

Be sure to add product review schema to your site, which can add rich snippets to your organic listings on search engines. Review snippets show the star rating, creating a more eye-catching organic listing, which can improve click-through rate.

2. Social Sign On

Allowing your customers to sign into your site using their social media profiles reduces barriers to registering with your site — customers only have to remember their login credentials for Facebook or Twitter, rather than creating a new account with a new username and password for your site. According to Gigya, social sign on increases registration rates by as much as 90 percent.

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Fab allows users to sign up using their Facebook account.

An added benefit of social sign on is that you can receive first-party data from users, pulled directly from their social media profiles. This may include demographics, education, interests, work history, and social connections, allowing you to learn more about your customers and create personalized experiences on your site for each user.

3. User-Generated Attributes

ModCloth uses small pieces of customer reviews and feedback to modify its product descriptions. For example, ModCloth asks its users to indicate if a product runs small, large, or true to size. This helps consumers make better-informed decisions, and may result in more positive reviews in the end. If a consumer knows their product runs large but still makes the purchase, they are less likely to come back and write a negative review that it was too big.

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A product on ModCloth indicates that the dress runs large, and informs users that they should select a size down from their normal size.

4. Pinterest Rich Pins

Implementing Rich Pins on your site automatically adds more information to pins, such as URL, price, and product availability. This helps your products stand out on Pinterest, and provides more value to pinners as they make purchase decisions. Additionally, Rich Pins are now the only way that your pins can be included in the “Gifts” category on Pinterest.

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Zulily has implemented Rich Pins on its site, allowing their URL, product name, price, and availability to display directly under the image on Pinterest.

Another benefit of Rich Pins is that if someone pins a product, and the price drops 10 percent or more, that person receives an email telling them the price has been reduced. It’s a great way to automatically remind customers that they were interested in a product.

To get started with Rich Pins, you’ll need to add the code to your site, then submit an application to Pinterest for approval.

5. Facebook Open Graph

Open Graph Protocol is Facebook’s version of schema — it labels information for Facebook to better interpret and index content, and creates richer shared messages on Facebook. Google even uses Open Graph on Google+ if it cannot find or read schema. Open Graph allows for numerous properties for products, such as category, price, size, condition, material, pattern, availability, shipping cost, shipping weight, and many more.

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Open Graph implementation automatically pulls through various product properties when shared on Facebook.

Allowing users to be more social on your site, and optimizing for social sharing, helps your brand leverage the growing social commerce market, increasing visibility of your brand and products, and providing value to customers.

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