Don't Abandon The Tried And True
Though some of your customers are no longer looking to your website for online shopping convenience, according to The National Retail Federation, they aren't solely shopping around on the social network either. What I forecast is that retailers who take advantage of their space in social media, in an integrated way with their online shopping platform, will drive the most sales. Smart retailers will get the consumer's attention where they already spend their time -- whether that's on Facebook, online or on their smartphone.
Most agencies look to Facebook as the end-all, be-all answer for building an online shopping platform. The truth is that other online platforms should not be replaced. Facebook is just a replica of an overarching industry standard of building online communities. Therefore brands need to consider all of their online platform possibilities before switching from one to the other. The NRF study revealed that of the 1,700 online shoppers surveyed, while 56% of Facebook users click through to the retail site, a whopping 67% of Twitter users have done so as well.
Kirkland's, the national home decor retailer, decided to hedge its marketing efforts and established two integrated online communities that stood on their own as far as content and even merchandise. The main lesson learned was that the two online shopping groups were not similar, so the retailer is capturing more of the market by thinking beyond just the site or just the Facebook page.
In an effort to determine the best ways to market to the two groups individually, a survey was conducted to see who was shopping where. The online community (mykirklands.com) fans were actually younger, crushing the misconception that Facebook attracts the younger crowd of shoppers. The Facebook fans were 46-55 years old, versus 36-45. The study found that 56% of the mykirklands.com responders said they did not have a Facebook account at all, and did not anticipate getting one. That's 56% of online shoppers that would have been missed if Kirkland's decided to replace its online shopping community with the Facebook page.
Bottom line: you need to understand your online customer and know what they want out of their experience for increased market share. While Facebook is quickly changing e-commerce, it's important for marketers to remember that innovation is about finding new and unique approaches, not throwing out the old when there's something new.