The Hottest Trends in Social Commerce Platforms

By CIOReview | Friday, August 19, 2016
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Remember, Scott McNealy? He was one of the co-founders of the erstwhile Sun Microsystems, a company which gave us Java and Solaris. At its peak, Sun was the envy of every big tech company out there including Microsoft, and IBM. Sun may have lost itself in the sands of time, but it will forever be remembered as a pioneering information technology behemoth.

Now, going back to Scott McNealy, who suddenly went under the radar when Oracle acquired Sun and was nowhere to be seen. Back in 2011, out of nowhere he pops up with a startup called Wayin; a social commerce platform which provides enterprises with social media data from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. With the data, enterprises can create authentic, interactive marketing campaigns that in the end will help them sell more stuff. The world took note for some time and then ignored. In five years, the startup has become a fledgling company and acquired a peer organization, EngageSciences.

Experts have been calling 2016 as the year when social commerce will explode driving increased sales for enterprises. Today, there are numerous services as well as approaches in social commerce for enterprises that are looking to leverage the technology. Here is a list of the hottest trends happening in social commerce.

Mobile Integration

As customers get more inclined towards mobile shopping, enterprises are increasingly under the pressure to deliver the same kind of experience that they provide in desktops. However, their efforts often get hampered by poor connectivity issues and the screen display size of mobile devices and tablets. In order to resolve this conundrum, social platform vendors like ZipfWorks have resorted to a user-guided approach where they analyze the shopping behaviors of end-users across devices and social media. The mobile app is then designed, based on the observed data, with required features for connectivity and device support. Also, ZipfWorks gradually provides necessary updates to the mobile app as they obtain feedback from end-users.

CRM Integration

Social commerce platforms compile data from social networks for establishing customer preferences and relationships. EngageSciences, now acquired by Wayin, integrates the social data into the enterprise’s CRM platform thereby enabling companies to identify productive segments and target specific users. Then again, seamless integration of the social platform with the existing enterprise CRM is necessary for getting hold of the estimated end results. Therefore, enterprises should be in the lookout for a platform with the required capabilities and one which can integrate with the existing architecture.

Interoperability

Today customers shop across a multitude of devices and operating systems. In such a scenario, interoperability between devices as well as operating systems becomes crucial for the success of an enterprise’s social commerce efforts. Social platform vendor Gamaroff Digital develops apps which provide similar experiences across desktop, web, mobile, and native. Also, Gamaroff’s platform enables enterprises to engage customers shopping across different mobile operating systems, whether it be Android, Windows, iOS or Blackberry.

Hybrid Tools

Despite the burgeoning number of mobile devices, most shoppers (other than millenials) still prefer to purchase through their desktop over a web browser. Why? The reason is fairly obvious– user interfaces of mobile apps often try to emulate their web equivalents. No matter how big a mobile device is, at the end of the day, it can neither offer any of the diverse functionalities nor the sharpness in images, seen usually in websites.

Shopping in mobile devices is a completely different experience as compared to their web counterparts. The best solution for mobile app providers is to leverage the most fundamental aspect of mobile devices– mobility. Fluid Inc is a social platform vendor focused on developing mobile apps which can provide customers an “in-the-moment” feeling. But, developing an app like that necessitates the features of both web and native apps. This has led to vendors like Fluid making use of hybrid tools which leverage the functionalities of web and native apps.

Therefore, it is best for enterprises to identify as well as utilize these emerging trends and technologies, and implement them in order to further strengthen their foothold in the marketplace thereby maximizing the ROI. In the words of Scott McNealy from an interview to “Every three weeks we give you a new version of it. What this gives you is what I call provable, as well as improvable, campaigns. In other words, we can prove, we can show you a real-time ROI dashboard on all of the key metrics. You can set your own values for what is a minute on site worth, what is a retweet worth, what is a click the buy worth, whatever, and then you can keep your own customized dashboard.”