In the world of the Internet, there hasn’t been a more perfect marriage than the one between e-commerce and social networking.
Let’s first take a look at the groom in this marriage, e-commerce.
Since its inception e-commerce has been the answer to a lot of consumers' prayers and it’s grown in popularity right along with the Internet itself.
Much older than its bride, it has been one of the first examples that showcased how companies are able to monetize the web, while also showing the world how the Internet could threaten the sales of physical stores.
E-commerce’s groomsmen were services like electronic money transfers, Internet marketing and online delivery services, which also grew in popularity once consumers starting leaving brick and mortars for online shopping.
Although very successful, e-commerce needed a better half to really maximize its potential, and social networking was the perfect match.
Becoming just as popular as e-commerce, social networking caught everyone’s attention once it was first introduced in the early thousands.
Bridesmaids Facebook & Twitter
Meanwhile, its bridesmaids Facebook and Twitter allowed social networking to become the global form of communication while making the world not only a smaller place but one that’s connected better through shared information.
Of course social networking could have survived just fine on its own, but once it attached itself to e-commerce both services were better able to secure more users and make a lot more money.
What makes the union so perfect is that e-commerce sites needed a social and interactive component in order to maximize sales and social networking sites needed a way to successfully include shopping.
The joyful union between the two services brought about the offspring of several start-ups like Fab.com, TheFancy.com and Lyst.com, which offer the sharing features of Facebook and Twitter with the purchasing options of Amazon or Buy.com.
Fab.com provides consumers with affordable and creative designs attached to a number of different industries like fashion, home furnishings and art, and so far the company has become the fastest growing e-commerce site ever, mainly due to its highly used social networking component.
In almost one year, Fab went from almost 200,000 members to 6 million.
Similar to Pintrest, Fab seduces its users with large and colorful photos and allows them to share various designs that you wouldn’t find in retail stores. Fab also caters to the hipster or outside-of-the-box-type, who would rather buy a vintage purple typewriter rather than a regular laptop.
Products are on the Fab site for short periods of time, and once the product reaches its sales period it goes away completely and another product is featured.
Sense of urgency
The company was smart to create a sense of urgency around buying products, as it adds a-first-come-first-serve aspect to the website.
The social networking parts of the site are pretty cool too, as user’s purchases and “likes” are seen by followers in real time, creating a virtual dialogue among shoppers so they can see what the other person is buying.
It’s similar to going shopping with your friend in that funky part of town that only sells unique items that cater to the unconventional consumer and the ardent collector.
The Fancy.com also effectively uses e-commerce and social networking by allowing users to add items from other online stores to personal timelines, and users can also describe the items for other members, serving almost as a personal reviewer for the site.
This gives other members a clear idea of what makes the product worth buying, so consumers don’t just like an item, they know a lot about it.
And instead of selected items just becoming part of your wish list, they become part of a personal catalogue that others can browse through. And the better your catalogue is the higher ranking you’ll get on the site.
Through these rankings users get promoted to official user titles like Men’s Fashion Director, Women’s Fashion Director, Kids Fashion Director, Pet Whisperer or Art Director.
Basically, The Fancy counts on its users to be the experts when it comes to finding the best items online, and through communicating with other members products are not only shared, but they’re discussed and reviewed beforehand.
And a few clicks will allow users to buy any product that's selected and they'll be connected directly to the retailer’s website.
In order to add items from other sites users would need to add the “Fancy button” to their web browsers, and the service is also available as a mobile app for Apple and Android devices.
Create a Lyst
Similarly, Lyst.com allows users to discuss fashion items, but it also lets users follow their favorite boutiques, stylist and designers, which helps them keep abreast of new products in the fashion world. Users will also be alerted to various sales and special deals.
Users can create their own “Lyst” and once an item goes on sale, the company shoots you an email to let you know.
Like the other sites mentioned, Lyst.com is all about feedback and keeping members in the loop when it comes to what to buy, where to buy it and when it will go on sale.
Apparently, the fashion website recognizes that the line between the fashion industry and consumers is becoming less visible. And by allowing users to get first dibs on the latest items, it allows people to be part of the fashion dialogue as opposed to just being fans and customers.
Any good social commerce site succesfully feeds a person’s desire to be kept up-to-date on what’s hot and new.
Lyst connects you with fashion experts around the world and once you choose to buy an item you deal directly with that retailer, so shipping prices and delivery times may vary.
Another thing the marriage of e-commerce and social networking did was remove the level of secrecy some consumers used when buying items, namely trendy clothes.
Instead of people wanting to be the first and only person to own something, they rather share it nowadays, and don’t mind if everybody else has the exact same thing.
In addition, people just don’t want to shop anymore- they want to discuss products with other people who share similar interest and taste.
And folks don’t just want to chat about items on social sites, they want a way to buy things, making social and e-commerce sites a match made in digital heaven.
That’s why sites like Facebook have added an e-commerce feature, and sites like Pintrest that only allows you to discover items, have gotten stiff competition from sites that let you purchase.
It’s the idea of taking the shopping experience with your friends and putting it online which is currently the trend.
The marriage between e-commerce and social networking sites has been a blissful one so far, and it doesn’t look like the two are divorcing anytime soon.
There's no doubt that the union is here to stay.