Generating revenue through social media has been the quintessential marketer’s dilemma for the past decade. The struggle is all too familiar: customer engagement via social media is far too time-consuming and it’s difficult to track success. With the right tool set, however, driving sales through social can be a much better experience.
Peter Messmer, VP Customer Success at AddShoppers, a premium social commerce platform, fills in some blanks in our latest vendor Q&A.
Describe AddShoppers in 50 words or less.
Peter: AddShoppers is the social media marketing command center for small-medium online retailers with clever social apps that help track and drive revenue through social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more.
What are 1-2 key areas of ecommerce and digital marketing that retailers need to hit on to get the most out of 2014?
- Mobile-optimized storefronts. This was crucial in 2013 and is now absolutely critical in 2014. With mobile traffic exploding and desktop traffic staying stagnant or even declining, your eCommerce store MUST provide an excellent user-experience across mobile devices.<
- Lower your reliance on Google. With Google converting more and more of their listings to paid while simultaneously shaking up their algorithm on a regular basis, it’s becoming more important by the day to wean off your Google traffic reliance and focus on alternate traffic sources (including social!), increasing your email subscriber base, and optimizing for maximum lifetime customer value.
Despite years of hype, there are still many doubters of the efficacy of social media in ecommerce. Prove those people wrong.
Peter: We published a report breaking down the social revenue that we tracked across our network in 2013, so the hard data is there — social drives revenue! While no one’s suggesting that retailers move all their eggs into the social media basket, I think we’ve proven that it’s a viable marketing channel. eCommerce merchants should also look at social media channels as less of a direct sales platform (like Google) and more of a “lead generation” platform.
Even if you don’t use social media to drive leads or revenue, it can be a great way to provide customer service and build your brand. Today, online shoppers expect to be able to connect with your brand over social media channels, and engaging these customers helps increase your exposure. For example, someone might want to Tweet a question about an order to you. Many people might view this as an added burden (“Another customer question to answer? Ugh”), but it’s really an opportunity to show the world how good your support is and how awesome it is to buy from you.
AddShoppers has over 10,000 clients. What interesting or surprising trends have you guys been able to pull from that large client pool?
Peter: We’ve been looking at a couple really interesting trends:
1. The increasing popularity of social contests/sweepstakes. With platforms like ours making it super easy to run a social contest (“Share to Enter” for example), it really makes no sense to run an “old-fashioned” non-social contest anymore because there just isn’t any virality built in!
With a “share to enter” contest, every entry increases your exposure, plus contests are naturally shared frequently because you have an opportunity to win something at no cost. It’s basically a marketing campaign with not just one, but TWO built-in viral components.
2. The rise of Pinterest as a valuable revenue driver. While no one was doubting Pinterest becoming a huge platform, there were a lot of doubts about its ability to drive revenue. Pinterest drove the most social revenue in 2013 according to our 2013 Social Commerce Breakdown, narrowly beating Facebook. This is even more impressive when you take the relative size of Pinterest vs Facebook.
3. The growth of smaller social networks. Networks like Polyvore (an apparel network) and Wanelo (a social shopping network) grew a ton and can be a valuable source of traffic and sales for some audiences. Polyvore is great for apparel/fashion, and Wanelo is great for reaching teenage/young adult shoppers.
If you were to advise a retail business to invest in one social media platform, which would it be and why?
Peter: If we had to choose only one, it would probably be Facebook. They’ve got the scale and because of their volume, they have a little bit of everything on their network — that is to say that even if you target a small, specific sub-niche, they’re probably on Facebook.
No matter what you sell, having a great Facebook fan page is a great way to reach customers, build your brand, and drive some traffic (just make sure you’re getting email addresses from those fans with all of the Facebook algorithm changes!).
What trend or innovation currently building steam in the retail/advertising industry fascinates you the most?
Peter: We’re most fascinated by the inevitable complete disruption of the physical retail industry with new POS technologies (Square, NFC payments, etc), in-store marketing to smartphones, and more offline businesses coming online (Square Market will make it easy for many to get online for the first time).
What is AddShoppers’s target market?
Peter: While our platform is used successfully by retailers of all sizes, from brand new stores to a enterprise level giants, our target market is generally made up of retailers in the $5-10m annual revenue range.
What do you guys have in store for the future?
Peter: We’ve got more really cool apps on the way, but I can’t say too much right now. All I can say now is that if you’re on our platform in 2014, you’ll be on the cutting edge of onsite social marketing.
Also, we try and attend as many events as possible, especially in the eCommerce industry, so if you’re attending any, look out for us and come say Hi!
Where do we sign up?
Peter: The first step is to go to AddShoppers.com, create your account, and integrate our apps (you’ll be directed to installation instructions for your platform right after you create your account).
You’ll start with our analytics apps: Social Analytics and ROI Tracking. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have a great baseline and you can start to track your social data.
The next step is to integrate shop-enhancing apps: Smart Sharing Buttons, Purchase Sharing, Discovery Wall, and Social Login. These apps enable sharing through our platform and use social media to make your shop’s infrastructure more user-friendly. For example, Social Login makes the registration/login process (a known conversion-killer) much easier and less frustrating by reducing it to a single click.
The last step is to integrate social marketing features into your shop. Our Social Rewards and Social Retargeting (with more coming soon!) allow you to grow your traffic and sales. You can set up these apps right from the AddShoppers dashboard.
Peter is the head of Customer Success at AddShoppers, helping clients transform their stores from “reclusive” to “social butterflies” that leverage social to drive shares and revenue.