Social commerce seems to reinvent itself year after year, from retailers like Banana Republic putting entire product assortments on Facebook (in 2011) to Google+ "Shop the Hangout" campaigns, begun in 2014 with designers like Diane von Furstenberg.
The latest iteration involves social platforms adding versions of buy buttons to entice mobile users to shop on the spot. A new eMarketer report, “Buy Buttons: Where Social Meets Mobile Commerce,” explores some of the potential for this version of social shopping.
Buy buttons have been gaining prominence throughout 2015. But despite all the major social networks testing or implementing them in some form, fewer than half of US retailers were using them as of August 2015, according to email marketing firm Campaigner.
That isn’t to say, however, that retailers aren’t intrigued by their potential. Liz Zink, social media strategist at online menswear and accessories retailer JackThreads, sees promise in Instagram’s new direct-response buttons, especially for customer acquisition. “Not only have the buy buttons been incredibly exciting for us, but [there’s] also the opportunity to advertise and reach a larger scope of audience,” she said.
Social Network that Creates the Most Sales Conversions According to UK vs. US Digital Retailers, July 2015 (% of respondents)
Each social network has taken a somewhat different approach to buy buttons, and their strengths as traffic and sales drivers for retailers also vary. For example, a July 2015 ChannelAdvisor survey found that three times as many US digital retailers considered Facebook the most successful for conversions as said the same of Twitter. And despite Pinterest’s visual appeal, it was Instagram that fared slightly better, according to these merchants.