With a carefully thought-out strategy, social channels have the ability to drive sales by directing shoppers to physical stores or transactional websites.
With no college year book at Harvard, in 2004 a bright young psychology student came up with the idea of a social networking website where fellow students could post profiles and share information. Eight years later and Mark Zuckerberg has just floated Facebook with an estimated price tag of more than $100 billion. The transformation of Facebook, from a college start-up into a worldwide internet phenomenon, has with it spawned a new generation for whom social media is as integral to their daily lives as the personal computer or the mobile phone. The phenomenal growth of social micro-blogging sites has been largely driven by technology with the increasing numbers of affordable smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices on the market. With technology likely to only improve with time, there is no doubt in my mind that social commerce or s-commerce, as it is increasingly hash tagged, has a significant role to play in the future of retail.
Where we have begun to see social media starting to come into its own, is as an influencer and multi-channel integrator in the same way mobile technology has helped blur the boundaries between retail channels. Nearly 70 per cent of online shoppers are already active users of social platforms. Users are receptive to new ideas, suggestions and recommendations, which make social media a growing influencer in retail sales rather than a channel for direct spend. As a consequence, direct sales currently sit at just £210 million compared with £1.4 billion of influenced sales. During the next five years, influenced sales are expected to more than double to £3.3 billion and by 2021, nearly half of the UK consumer population will be engaged in s-commerce, whether this is browsing for inspiration, comparing prices, seeking personal recommendations, or making a direct purchase. Amongst 25-34 year olds the figure will be much higher with nearly three quarters using social media as part of the purchasing process.
If you are new to Corporate Banking at Barclays, call us on: 0800 015 4242*