As the world’s marketplace shifts from the traditional brick and mortar establishment to the online venue, both marketers and consumers alike are finding their way into the forum’s social hubs.
According to an article published on Social Media Today, the global ecommerce market surpassed $1 trillion in 2012, while in that same year; social networks generated over $16.9 billion. By 2015, total revenue from social commerce sales is predicated to reach 30 billion.
What does this say about the future of commerce?
It communicates a clear trend of electronic business growth along the Internet’s social channels, and to be in the virtual marketplace, is to be among your consumers.
But don’t just take my word for it.
Best-selling author Joel Comm likened Internet connection to the front door of a house.
“The home office is where work gets done,” Comm said. “The kitchen is where thought leaders are cooking things up, and the bathroom is the wasteland of terrible web pages. So which room is the gathering place for discussion, engagement and interaction? Of course, it’s the living room. I would submit that social media resides in the place where we socialize with others. It’s where we gather, interact, communicate and network.”
A Market Force survey revealed 81 percent of U.S. Consumers declared social networking recommendations were integral to their purchase decisions.
What does this say about the role of social media in the online marketplace?
It is clear social media has become the most effective outlet for word-of-mouth advertising in the millennial age.
If a brand tells you they are the most effective, the most reliable, or the best tasting, it is propaganda, but if your mother or old friend tells you the same, it is truth.
A study conducted by Social Labs determined 62 percent of online shoppers have read product-related comments from friends on Facebook with 75 percent of those shoppers having visited the retailer’s site, and if that’s not all, 53 percent of those consumers went on to purchase a product.
According to the same study, social proofing has a marked impact on shopper confidence, with 57 percent of shoppers more likely to buy after receiving positive brand acknowledgement from a social buddy.
But marketers and consumers are not the only ones shaping their activities to fit the millennial mold, so too has the means of marketplace entry as mobile devices have begun to push themselves to the front of the line.
It seems strange to think of someone rushing home to their desktop to go online.
“Desktops are the dinosaurs of the PC industry as laptops first enabled mobility that smartphones later extended,” said Kevin Tofel, mobile site editor at GigaOM.com. “Mobile devices are enabling new economies, opportunities and functions we couldn’t envision just a handful of years ago.”
But wherever the market is extended, it will be online, and it will find its center on the channels of social media, something modern marketers are depending on.
After all, businesses cannot grow if they neglect the meeting place of their consumers, and they know it.