How Social Data Can Help e-Commerce Businesses Improve Their Bottom Line

After social media, “big data” is set to be the biggest internet buzzword in the next few years. We’ve been accumulating a tremendous amount of data from social networking sites over the last half decade or so (social networking accounts for 27% of all time spent online). Now is the time to leverage this data to create unique shopping experiences that are custom-tailored to your shoppers’ needs.

Creating a Dynamic Shopping Experience

Picture this: a customer signs up for your website through a referral link on Twitter. By analyzing this user’s social profile, you gather that he really enjoys fantasy literature. Leveraging this data, you create a dynamic homepage that features Game of Thrones DVDs and merchandise. The customer adds the Season 1 DVD of Game of Thrones to his shopping cart. Here, you show him a 10% discount coupon for A Song of Ice and Fire collector’s edition, which he promptly adds to his cart and proceeds to check out.

At the checkout, the customer realizes that you’ve already populated the name, address, phone number and email fields using his data from Facebook. The checkout process is twice as fast and the satisfied customer shares his purchase with his Facebook network, generating more referral traffic back to your site.

The result: more sales, increased customer loyalty, and happy customers who can’t stop talking about you.

Let’s take a look at the three key benefits of using social data on ecommerce platforms:

Highly Personalized Recommendations

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Recommendations have traditionally been based on the customer’s browsing history. This approach, however, contains two major flaws: one, the customer needs to have significant interaction with the website to create a dynamic interest graph, and two, it creates a lot of false signals (i.e. the customer could have been shopping for someone else) that can confuse the recommendation process.

Social recommendations bypass these constraints by connecting the business directly with the customer’s social data. The business can learn exactly what the customer likes by leveraging data from his social profiles — his ‘like’ history, public posts, comments, interaction on community pages, and more. This lets businesses create tailored web experiences so the user sees a personalized homepage each time he visits the website.

With social data, the business can also create highly targeted profiles for different sets of customers, even if each user accesses the website from the same computer. This functionality reduces false signals and ensures that the recommendations are consistently customer-appropriate.

For a more comprehensive marketing strategy, personalized recommendations can also be integrated with email marketing to create highly customized email marketing campaigns that target specific individuals or groups. Instead of sending a generic email to the entire user base, businesses can create dynamic emails that reflect the customer’s interests and browsing and purchase history, encouraging repeat purchases.

Dynamic Offer Generation

A social-powered e-commerce platform can closely monitor the customer’s shopping process and show customized offers at opportune times. For instance, suppose a customer has second thoughts about a particular purchase. Just as the customer is about to leave the site, a dynamic offer generation engine can offer a promotion on specific, relevant items gathered from the customer’s social data. This can help turn casual browsers and on-the-fence shoppers into paying customers.

Faster Checkouts with Social Logins

One of the biggest causes of abandoned shopping carts is the checkout process itself. Having to create and sign into an account and enter shipping and billing details can be a nuisance and a significant roadblock to completing a transaction. By integrating social login data into the checkout process, businesses can eliminate the need for new users to create separate site accounts and fill out tedious registration forms, reducing friction and shopping cart abandonment. In fact, the convenience of social login is one of the reasons why over 50% of users prefer it over standard registration.

Conclusion

Social data opens up a world of possibilities for e-commerce businesses. It can help online businesses generate personalized recommendations, incentivize purchases with special offers on the fly, and even streamline the checkout process for a faster, better, and more intimate shopping experience.

To learn more about how Gigya’s Connected Consumer Management Suite helps businesses connect to their users in authentic, relevant ways, click here or schedule a 1:1 consultation with one of our product experts.

-Emma Tzeng, Marketing @gigya

By Emma Tzeng