When social shopping can really work

There are various ways that social media is slowly being adopted by online retailers. It’s becoming increasingly common to find facebook, twitter & blogs on ecommerce sites, and “share this’ bookmarking & product reviews seem fairly standard now on product pages.

Apart from product reviews where there’s a proven link to increasing conversion rate (79% of online UK retailers surveyed reported that the main benefit of consumer-generated rating and reviews was that they improved site conversion rates), it’s hard to demonstrate a direct sales benefit, although of course it all helps in terms of brand building, customer loyalty and rich content for SEO.

In my experience the most effective social shopping sites (and the most effective form of online marketing!) are www.hotukdeals.com and www.moneysavingexpert.com. A post such as this


would typically boost daily sales by 500% – 1000% i.e a spike in sales normally over a couple of days driven by sales of one particular product, with customers discussing and rushing to get the bargain. A product that would normally sell less than 5 a day would sell 500 in one day, with zero cost per conversion, and adding 100s of new potential repeat customers!

Of course success stories like this are unlikely to happen all day everyday, and despite my efforts at influencing the system will be quite random events (be careful – it’s easy to get blacklisted for self promotion)!

The key thing is to be aware of the potential, and keep an eye out for the start of a spike in traffic from one particular source, sales of one particular product, or use of a voucher code.

Then make sure stock levels are available, check the margin on the product, use a popular landing page to up-sell/ cross-sell, monitor what people are saying about your brand and website. And watch the sales roll in!

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