Social ecommerce* (or social commerce) refers to buying goods directly via a social platform. It has been a brewing trend for many years, and always seems to be the next big thing.
The Pinterest 'buy' button
Earlier this year, Pinterest removed affiliate/click-to-buy links from its website. This meant that bloggers or users who advertised items on Pinterest could no longer make a small fee via the click through. It was thought the move was to precede the addition of a buy button, where Pinterest users could directly buy the item as part of Pinterest, staying on the site rather that linking to an external site.
Social Commerce on Mobile Apps
My granddad taught me to always scope out the possibility for a bargain, so I'm perhaps less inclined than others to go for the ease of a buy button. I may scout out Google shopping and other online shops before making a purchase.
However, I think on a Online Mobile eCommerce Site, nice and tidy in its small little mobile screen, I may be less inclined to go sniffing elsewhere, as it's all a bit more of an effort on mobile than desktop or tablet. If I felt the price was fair, the ease of a buy button on a mobile site would be more attractive to me.
The future of buying on social media
Facebook already has the option to buy while staying on the Facebook site and they call it f-commerce or f-comm. It isn't massively popular, but Facebook have been plugging away at their f-commerce for years (as well as a 'donate' button for charities), and it's likely to become more popular.
Twitter have already trialled their buy button and it's been popping up for ticket ads, among others. But on the whole, it seems to be that we're waiting to see how it progresses.
* Social ecommerce/commerce is a phrase also attributed to the social aspects of buying online, for example, engaging with the customer, customers interacting with each other, articles, reviews and feedback. There is also another phrase called, along the lines of, 'onsite social commerce' which is features within a website that promotes sharing and interactivity between customers on a site.
Optimising a website is the new having a website – think how often you browse and buy on a tablet or phone, or how often you see others doing it.
The US general manager of Alibaba.com said this year that creating a seamless shopping environment on a mobile phone “will be crucial for any business that wants to grow in 2014”.
Shopping on your mobile or tablet – how many people do it?
Statistics show that more people are buying this way, as a quicker alternative to firing up the PC. With a mobile or iPad, it's easy to buy on the go when you remember something, or while relaxing in the evening. These devices are convenient and to hand.
Research company eMarketer predicts that in two years, a quarter of all eCommerce will be done via a mobile device. That's potentially one in four customers looking to buy on their tablet or phone. The famous USA sale day 'Black Friday' is coming up soon – last year figures by Custora High-Growth eCommerce Index showed that 40% of all online shopping was done on mobile devices that day.
Does a website always needs to be optimised?
Usually, yes. It can be pot-luck whether a traditional website created for a typical browser window works on a tablet or mobile. Often it's there in spirit but can look messy – tiny writing, weird buttons, overlapping products etc.
Going back to what Annie Jie Xu of Alibaba said, it is about creating a 'seamless' shop for customers. Think about whether you would continue shopping on something clunky and confusing. Optimisation for eCommerce is about streamlining the process to suit the small and medium sized screens of mobiles and tablets.
Any eCommerce platform is likely to benefit from mobile optimisation, as it makes shopping easier for customers and can lead to a higher conversion rate.
We see mobile device optimisation as a sensible choice, people will keep using phones, and customers will keep buying online, in the easiest way possible. Mobile devices are to hand, they are already turned on, and with an optimised website, it should be hassle free.
In terms of budget, it comes down to what you need and what you expect. Project costs will vary significantly from project to project. We suggest speaking to a software company about mobile app development.
If you're looking for an online shop or eCommerce platform give us a call or send an email – we have worked on various eCommerce projects and have several options to get the most of your budget. Get in touch with us about outsourcing that part of the project. We have experience working with partners and agencies on software products. Call us on 01223 690164 to discuss what you need and how we can help.
If you're someone who has had an idea for a mobile app and would like to know more about the process and costs, hopefully this blog post will shed some light.
We work with non-technical clients as well as technology partners and agencies – this article is aimed at clients with little prior knowledge of how apps work in terms of the build, but have got a great idea from a user perspective that they want to see in action.
Cost and time:
Most developers will tell you something along the lines of 'how long is a piece of string' when asked how much a web app costs.
And of course, they're right, but it is possible to give a guideline. For any app, you are looking at thousands rather than hundreds. Most apps will take weeks to design, build and test, at least. You are unlikely to find much below £5,000 in terms of building a complete app, and that would be for a very simple one.
It is likely you will want to budget more than that, particularly if you have specific, potentially complex, requirements. The number of devices you want your app to be suitable for will also affect the cost.
Who builds it? Who designs it?
We are a tech and design company, so we can create all aspects of the app. A lot of app designers will take charge of the entire project – so writing the technology that powers the app, and designing the way it looks to the people using it.
We are happy to accommodate your design requests – whether that's us working on the technical development, you doing the design yourself, or providing us with the designs from somebody you already work with. Some companies will always want to do the design in-house, this is something to check.
What is the mobile development process?
If you are starting from scratch with a new app developer, it's likely you will first chat about and confirms your requirements. Once everyone is on the same page, the technical solution will be decided and the user interface designed, so you know how it will work from a user's point of view.
App development will then begin in earnest and once completed, full testing and QA is carried out. Once you sign off the app, it will be ready for you to use, sell, or look at in awe.
Maintenance of mobile apps and future work:
Your app will be good to go and often comes with a warranty for a specified time. However, software may need other updates in or outside of this time to keep it ticking over, or you may want to refresh your app in the future with new ideas, improvements or additions.
We can build you a fully-featured online shop, with a smooth, secure buying process and all the design and management options you need. We've been making eCommerce for more than a decade and can take care of everything, so you can get selling. Bespoke Design:
The details of what is needed for an eCommerce system vary from business to business. We can pretty much fulfil any request, giving you a bespoke online shop suited to your requirements, guided by our experience. Complete CMS options, blog posts, newsletters, offers, enhanced product pages, review features, product ratings, data APIs, image carousels - there are lots of exciting, engaging additions that can be integrated into a bespoke ecommerce website.
Responsive - buy on your Tablet or Mobile:
Lots of people shop on their mobile - don't let a confusing shopping experience that doesn't translate to the small mobile screen lose you a sale.
Creating a mobile-friendly shopping cart or eCommerce Website might mean adapting what you have, starting from scratch, or implementing it as part of a new build.
Secure payments and simple maintenance:
A beautifully designed and wonderfully intuitive website it just part of it. Customers want and need to know their payments are safe and secure and we always include this in our design.
After the build, and during content or product listing, having a simple administration or CMS system is also important. Our CMS systems are always built with this in mind, to streamline the process and save you time.
We take great pride in our eCommerce Platforms - we actually love the process of building an online shop, finding out about a client's business and we feel great satisfaction when we can deliver something that is so important and successful to our clients.
The big trend that we've noticed recently is about enhancing user experience - in particular on mobile - for example a lot of clients are looking for responsive versions of websites, and that includes eCommerce.
It's something that we can readily recommend. More people are shopping with mobiles, it makes good sense."