In the new millennium consumers continue to wait for two things: the killer app and flying cars. The killer app is an odds-on fave to arrive first. In the meantime the appearance of buy buttons have ushered in a new phase of eCommerce, more appropriately termed social commerce, or commerce that is integrated into social media, also referred to as social media marketing. About the same time social media in its modern form began to receive notice and gain in popularity (around 2005), marketers were quick to adopt the technology as a strategic tool for the promotion of brands and as a communications channel. Facebook, having gained the most acceptance among social media users, has become so much of a destination for firms wishing to engage with consumers that a new method of eCommerce has been coined – Facebook commerce, or fCommerce.
Buy buttons are accessed inside an app within a social media platform. The app allows entrance of the customer’s credit card information, thus completing the purchase cycle directly, without need to interface with the vendor’s Website. Buy buttons are designed to allow users to conduct shopping transactions without having to exit the site. Such an arrangement allows for exciting new monetization possibilities for businesses of all types and sizes, especially in social media applications. With online spending reaching into the trillions of dollars, it’s easy to understand why tech companies in particular are enthusiastic over the potential offered by this innovative form of social commerce.
Social buttons serve the dual purpose of providing KPI’s while also offering a historic data stream; their utilization constructs the added dimension of augmented connectivity to online engagement in social networking sites (SNS). Consumer partiality to access the digital domain via their hand held devices combined with a fondness for visual content creates an opportunity for commerce via SNS which is cost-effective and readily accessible. Monitoring of social media metrics may offer benefits such as an increase in brand recognition, nurturing lead development and augmenting sales conversions, and doing so in an economical manner with little added investment.
Social commerce has the potential to readily enhance profitability for businesses while reducing transactional costs at the same time. Pinterest is currently the leader in the use of buy buttons. Pinterest uses image-based content centered on fashion, entertainment, functional arrangement and crafts along with information-seeking abilities on these devotions. Facebook and Instagram are also looking closely into incorporating social buttons into their marketing mix subscriptions.
Yet not all aspects of buy buttons may be advantageous. Greed may drive excitement and provide an experience of thrill-seeking behavior in those individuals whose personal identities are strengthened and reinforced by material possessions, and may have such demeanors. Compulsive shopping can be described as an addictive behavior, secondary to the prompt to the dopamine reward system, an effect similar to that experienced in habituating drugs. Some users may be at risk in these respects, and more study is warranted to determine whether warnings should be posted on sites using buy buttons along with resources for afflicted users to be able to find help if needed.
Buy buttons represent an example of how social media has been impacted and changed by technology. Whether it will prove to be advantageous or detrimental remains to be seen, however.
What do you think of the possibilities offered with buy buttons? Are they the future of social commerce, or merely another momentary distraction to marketer’s attention – a flash in the pan as it were? Let us know in the comments below. And join us again next week as Grannelle continues to investigate the latest innovations in eCommerce.