“This year has seen the most change in social commerce,” Jon Kubo, the Chief Product Officer for social commerce technology company 8thBridge, told us. Working off statistics from 475 retailers in the Internet Retailer’s Top 500 and Second 500 lists, 8thBridge established who’s winning at social commerce this year. The honor goes to Fab.com, with other online-only fashion and beauty favorites like Modcloth (no. 4), ShoeDazzle (no. 6), and Birchbox (no. 9) making the list.
To achieve their “Social Commerce IQ” rankings, 8thBridge looked at four elements: brand awareness on social media (how many fans a company has on Facebook, followers on Twitter, etc.), the percentage of traffic those social networks drive to a company’s site, social lift (a euphemism for social network buttons implemented directly on a company’s own site), and social customer relationship management (tailoring the online experience for shoppers via social media data).
What 8thBridge found is that there are three main ways to achieve online social success. “Last year, success was just due to branding on social networks and good metrics, but this year we added in three categories that reflect an entire look at social commerce and monetization benefits,” Kubo said. The first thing is to have have deeply integrated social functionality in the company Web site. The second group to do well are “in-transition” companies who have good functionality in all social commerce areas, and the third are strong viral companies that score exceptionally well in social network branding and referral traffic.
As an example to follow, Fab won this year because 24% of its traffic comes from social networks. Half of new customers come to the site from seeing shared items on social media. Meanwhile, 15% of shoppers who visit Fab because they saw a product shared by a friend actually end up making a purchase (this is a very healthy conversion rate).
The biggest takeaway, for all retailers, from 8thBridge’s study was the rise of Pinterest and overall sharing — “customers share three times more product than last year,” Kubo noted. Going forward, what’s most important here is to take advantage of that new tendency by integrating social functionality directly into one’s e-commerce. Beyond that, best practices for 2013 include incorporating branding on social networks, allowing users to make lists of favorite products, and awarding discounts or rewards for social sharing and referrals.