Why use Social to Increase your E-Commerce Sales?

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Halloween is over so the rule is you must now start thinking and worrying about Christmas. (It’s the rule).

So how do you go through your gift-shopping thinking  – that big important present – I think most of us would at least do some research about it online first – and probably many of us would go on to buy that present online.

Now think about when you might be reminded about that certain person you need to get a present for – have you had the horror of an Aunt Margaret ‘liking’ a photo on Facebook of one of your maybe not so finest moments on a night out. After the fright of realising – Mags is on Facebook! You may then think – arrgh need to get her a decent present this year…

Imagine if through the wonders of Facebook targeting – a photo of the perfect pair of slippers was right there on your Timeline right at that moment. Would you click ‘Buy’, click a few billing and shipping options and get the job done?

Facebook thinks you would, and many online retailers have already made moves into closing the gap between their social fans and their online sales pages.

So here’s a few reasons why if you’re an N.I. online retailer you may want to think about making use of N.I.’s most popular social network – Facebook – to drive up your online sales.

6 Reasons to Use Facebook to Increase your E-Commerce Sales

1. To begin with, e-commerce in Northern Ireland is in a healthy state and is being pushed forward by local government and funding bodies

Kevin Kingston, Danske Bank’s Deputy CEO and Managing Director of Business Banking had this to say to the NI Retail Trade Association about the future of online sales:

“The retail sector is adapting to new realities, with many retailers now blending the best of what technology has to offer with the basic human need for community interaction. The online revolution has also changed how people do their banking and how they pay retailers. For example we now see more transactions done by smartphone than through any other channel and there was a 300 per cent rise in contactless payments made in the UK last year. ” NIRTA Sept 2015 Newsletter

And according to Tech City UK in their 2015 Tech Nation report:

  • There are 32,000 people employed in digital technology in NI
  • The NI technology sector is 1.7 times more likely to specialise in payments infrastructure compared to the UK average

( Source http://www.techcityuk.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Tech%20Nation%202015.pdf)


2. Social has been proven to drive e-commerce sales
Top digital marketing boffin Dave Chaffey at Smart Insights stated in his 2015 UK Digtal Marketing report:

“33% of marketers say that organic use of social media drives ‘significant volumes of leads and sales at an acceptable cost per acquisition (CPA)’, which seems quite high given how social media isn’t really about driving leads or sales.”

So even ‘organically’ – without putting any money into Facebook Ads – social media is being seen to have an effect on sales.
Some further UK based stats on the subject –
  • Orders coming from social media grew by 202% over 2014, making social media an effective way to bring in sales.
  • 71% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media.
  • 4 out of 10 social media users have purchased an item in-store or online after sharing it on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
  • 39% of Facebook users like brand pages to research products.
  • Facebook is the biggest referrer of traffic at 63% with the majority of orders from social media coming from Facebook.

(Source: IntegritySearch.co.uk)


3. People in Northern Ireland do use social media and they do shop online (so they do)

Ofcom’s August 2015 Communications Report for Northern Ireland revealed the following:

  • Internet users in NI claimed to spend 21.6 hours on the internet per week
  • At the time of the August 2015 survey –  in the past week – four activities were undertaken by a majority of internet users in NI: general surfing or browsing (82%), sending and receiving email (71%), purchasing goods or services (58%) and using social networking sites (53%).
  • Facebook is the most popular social media brand in NI; 97% of adults with a social media profile use the site
  • Over one in five adults (23%) in NI would say they are ‘hooked on social media’


4. Facebook want to help you convert your FB followers to product buyers

Facebook has been trying to crack the online shopping loop for a while now. They introduced a ‘Buy’ call-to-action button for use on Facebook Ads at the beginning of last year.  And word has it that they are now close to launching mini e-commerce sites within Facebook Pages themselves – the entire shopping experience would take place within Facebook.
For now, most of Facebook’s tools to drive shoppers to your site exist within Facebook Ads – optimised ads set up to make full use of Facebook’s unparalleled targeting capabilities – targeting specific customer demographics according to product segments. They’ve numerous options for how your products are shown in the ads.  They even have a ‘Dynamic Products’ ad option where Facebook will choose the products displayed in carousel format in your ad based on the products the customers viewing it have already shown interest in on your website or app. The girly online shopping network Very.co.uk is making use of this particular function read more.
It’s well worth taking the time to look through the guide and the other success stories provided by Facebook on their retail guide page –
Outside of paid ads on Facebook you can add a call-to-action ‘Shop Now’ button to your page cover photo to send people to your product pages.
shop now
Other developers are cutting Facebook to the chase on the obvious need for a full shopping experience within social media apps. The high-flying Irish Collison brothers of Stripe online payment service fame have already created Relay – an app to allow people to pay within existing apps – like Twitter or Facebook mobile. At present Relay is only available in the US.
“Collison said the idea was based on the fact that only 12% of mobile app users make actual purchases on their phones, when 60% of all web browsing happen on mobile devices. ‘It’s not built for mobile. It’s like an obstacle course before people can pay you money,’ he said.”


5. Example of  a successful NI retailer using Social
In the Fashion Brand sector; Thomas Sabo – has the 3rd largest Facebook audience in Ireland, and is the 2nd fastest growing Facebook audience in Ireland.
You can see their stats and check out the top Facebook players in other industries in Ireland on http://www.socialbakers.com/statistics/facebook/pages/total/ireland/brands/fashion/
Across all sectors the top 3 Facebook brands in Ireland in 2015 are Primark,  Amazon UK, Lidl, Aldi and Lyons Tea according to Irish social media guru Shane O’Leary in his 2015 Irish Digital Consumer Report.


6. And another thing…
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were more online retailers who didn’t have any N.I. delivery restrictions!!

“A report from the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland, released in June 2015, said that a third of online retailers apply restrictions to Northern Ireland (NI), which can include higher charges, longer delivery times, and refusal to deliver to NI” (Ofcom’s 2015 Communications Market Report for Northern Ireland)


Food for thought in any case! Anything that makes the Christmas shopping experience easier can only be a worthwhile exercise…

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