We as humans are inherently social beings. Regardless of whether we communicate in person or leverage digital mediums, being social is embedded within the fabric of human existence. As such, the human specifies has evolved through communication, learning and sharing.
With the evolution of sharing mediums, specifically networks, more specifically Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, G+ and the countless other niche networks that connect different likes & interests, sharing is no longer full of friction. In actuality, we seem to be faced with a problem that our species has never had to deal with before- too much shared information.
We’re in a phase of transition- one that’s already fully underway. No longer is it about a lack of access but a lack of focused access. As such, our favorite search engines have deepened their algorithms of understanding in qualifying valuable & relevant content. More importantly, the web is evolving with greater search capability and more focused ways to consume the media that matters, when it matters.
Well.. with that said, why does it matter for online retailers to take note of this shift and act on it?
Flatly. If online retailers don’t, the Amazon’s & Ebay’s of the world will. Social data enables a level of consumer understanding never before harnessed. Retailers now have the ability to identify who their audience really is- not just age/gender and other demographic splits, but differentiations that make sense on a like & interest level. Correlations between different behaviors and personas can now be made and directly related back to purchasing behavior. Truly understanding this data will mark the actions that define a successful online retailer from one that gets left behind.
Moreover, this Social Data enables online retailers to build lasting relationships. With consumers being targeted on a deep personal level, brand affinities are grounding themselves. Would an individual pay more to shop from a website that they feel understands them? Absolutely. At the end of the day, people care about themselves and other people that care about them. If an online retailer can act as that person, brand loyalty will replace price sensitivity. (Over time of course but focusing on Life Time Value now is crucial).
In conclusion- the real value behind Social Integration/Implementation for eCommerce is data & insight, followed by engagement which will ultimately result in greater revenue returns. Ignoring it will be a fatal mistake.