The story about the greatest trick

The greatest trick giant retailers have ever pulled is convincing the world that conversion rates of 1% are normal.

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Social commerce

You’ve heard of it, everybody is talking about it, but what actually is it?

The definitions of “social selling” range from looking for b2b connections in LinkedIn, right through to having a Facebook integrated shop with payment options.

It is a new, evolving concept and one that does not currently have consensus as to “what” it is. At its most fundamental level, it is the idea of leveraging social networking connections in order to gain a commercial advantage. All the way from generating leads (using your connections to target customers) right the way up to converting on-site (by adding payment and checkout features) integrated into social media.

As its base level, social shopping is a play by the large social networks to enter the eCommerce space. There is some synergy, these platforms already serve vast amounts of personalized content to their users on a daily basis, so by integrating a shopping function into their content delivery, there is essentially a new sales channel for brands.

Brands can leverage their facebook, instagram or even whatsapp social networks by having built in shopping features. This in theory allows brand ambassadors to sell more products through a previously unused marketing channel.

Added to this, the technological heavyweights such Facebook have no problem integrating with existing shopping platforms such as Shopify or BigCommerce, so at the click of a button brands send their existing products to new sales channels, and so is born the idea of social ecommerce.


Social commerce platform

But in our mind, there is something missing from the concept of social commerce that makes it a bridge between where we are now, and where eCommerce will evolve to.

The big problem with social media ecommerce and current solutions of social selling as an additional sales channel, is that it is a generalized solution trying to be all things to all people. It is an attempt to use a powerful tool, the strength of a brand on social media, and leverage this as part of the selling process. There is definitely a role for social selling in all ecommerce platforms, however there are also drawbacks for using the tool so far up the funnel.

Let’s imagine a high-end furniture brand. They might have a really popular Instagram following, in fact it is quite likely if they specialize in hand-crafted or niche products. However, even if they have a strong brand on the Social Media platform, is a “buy now” button tagged on the bottom of a post really going to persuade a follower to part with up to EUR 5000?

No it isn’t, because social media content and eCommerce platforms have fundamentally different purposes. A social media platform is designed to generate engagement, interest and allow a brand to demonstrate value and innovation.

An eCommerce platform is designed to give engaged customers the trust and confidence that they have found the correct, personalized product, and this can be securely purchased and delivered to their homes.

It is unlikely that somebody browsing through Social Media will make an impulse purchase for a high-end product. You need to go through a process of adapting a budget, fitting the products to your use case, understanding the intricacies of deliveries and returns. In our mind, social selling at a low price range suits impulse buys, and at a higher price range has some relevance as a lead-generation, but not conversion tool.

Let’s say that the social commerce platform relies on an eCommerce platform to do the heavy lifting, manage the delivery, conversion and trust. That is a logical integration, however that is not too far away from the existing relationship between Social Media and eCommerce, where social media is a support channel to help with branding and engagement.

High traffic, low conversion

Existing integrated social commerce platforms are afflicted by the same issues as existing eCommerce sites. Conversion rates are typically 1% or lower depending on your sector. That is absolutely terrible. That means, less than 1 in 100 people visiting your online store will end up actually buying something. It is a sign of the poor state of eCommerce that businesses and business models rely completely on these numbers, and they are accepted as normal.

The reason that large eCommerce platforms can have such terrible conversion is simple, they just have so much traffic. So what if you have a conversion rate of 1%, if you are getting 100,000 visits a day to your online site then you are still making an awful lot of money.

But there is a problem with these numbers for anyone who isn’t a titan of eCommerce (there are probably only one or two in every space).

That is why we believe in doing things a bit differently.

Using conversations to drive conversion is invaluable for my business. The Shop Front is unique in providing tools to engage personally with each customer on their terms. An online platform that has the adaptability to suit selling my personalized, specific services online. Gamechanging.

Yuri van der Sluis - b2b sales consultant

Let's get started

There are two simple ways to use the platform.

You can add The Shop Front sales channel to your shopify account, allowing you seamless integration with your shopify inventory and fufillment options. There is no commission on sale!

If you don't have Shopify, you can setup a free account and use our Stripe integration to sell through the platform. We will take a small commission on each sale. Nothing else to pay!

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