The traditional ecommerce experience normally entails searching on Google or Amazon for the product you want, and then scanning for the cheapest deal. Or maybe it means visiting a retailer’s website and trolling through 575 pairs of shoes to find something that suits your style. But rarely does buying online feel like the enjoyable real-world experience of “going shopping.”
By contrast, meeting up at the mall or wandering a busy shopping district with a friend is an inherently social experience. You never know what cool stuff you’ll stumble across, and those moments are what make going shopping so much fun. These fun aspects are actually transferable to the online world. Here are the five to focus on.
1. Let People Emote
Retail therapy is all about discovering products that get us excited and provoke reactions and conversation with our friends. While many brands have added “want” buttons to product listings, several months of data generally show that a “want” post performs poorly at driving follow-up reactions in the social stream. This is likely because “wanting” something is typically tied to a more considered purchase process.
The key is to enable people to emote the same way they do during the physical shopping experience, and let them share their reactions with others quickly and easily.
For example, providing tools to emote is at the core of The Huffington Post’s social features. Next to most articles you can click on buttons that say “amazing”, or “weird”, or “important”. This range drives a more interesting social post and follow-up comments.
2. Showcase What’s Hot
If you make it easy for people to express their views on products, you’ll also know what’s “hot” in your inventory and can give these products more prominence within your shopping experience. By featuring these trending items, you drive impulse purchases by even casual visitors. This creates a self-reinforcing viral loop, which can give products broad exposure to new potential customers.
For example, social curation site Wanelo showcases products from across the web that are “saved” the most by its users. More “saves” by users give a product a higher placement on the home page, letting people know what’s hot among Wanelo users.
3. Ditch the Cart
Pushing a cart around is a drag in the real world and online. Since social commerce product discovery often comes from within a social stream, it is all about spontaneous, one-off buys, not shopping from a pre-defined list. Enable your shoppers to immediately buy with one click rather than filling up a cart they have to manage and can more easily abandon.
It’s all about taking friction out of the system so impulses can result in instant sales. The iTunes store has shown the clear value of this one-click, cart-free approach.
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