Imagine a brand new source of revenue that doesn’t require extra work.
That’s exactly what’s out there hiding in plain sight. In fact, you could be earning new customers today without spending a penny to attract visitors to your ecommerce site. The problem is you just can’t see the opportunity yet because your brain has been wired to recognize it as something different than what it’s quickly becoming.
Social media is no longer simply a source of traffic.
It’s now a new source of revenue.
The purpose of this piece is to open your eyes by rewiring your brain ever so slightly to position you to:
- Sell to consumers who otherwise may never have bought from you
- Shrink the path to purchase and reduce your abandoned cart rate
- Offer consumers instant commerce opportunities and improve the customer experience
It’s called social commerce, and it allows you to set up ecommerce stores inside the social media applications where your target market is spending much of its time. Users can buy from you without ever leaving the social media platform and without visiting your site.
“When people see something they love they want to buy it immediately,” Spencer Stumbaugh, Director of Marketing at MVMT Watches says. “It’s really exciting because social commerce is going to be a trend in the future.”
It’s certainly not the first time Stumbaugh saw opportunity in a massive shift in consumer behavior.
Evolving with the Shift
MVMT Watches, which offers high quality, classically designed watches for a fraction of what high-end pieces cost, began life as the second highest funded Indiegogo campaign of 2013. The watches, which are created with a minimalist look and worn professionally or casually, sell for less than half of those offered by competitors.
Back then it was common for users to discover MVMT, pronounced Movement, on their smartphones but ultimately make purchases on a desktop. That would change dramatically after the mobile tipping point of 2014, the year the number of mobile users surpassed desktop users. “Three-quarters of our traffic was on the desktop,” Stumbaugh says. “That changed almost overnight, and now mobile is as much as 60% of our total traffic.”
The shift to mobile was one Stumbaugh, Pinsker, and the team at MVMT saw and capitalized on early. But what about all of the traffic they were getting from Facebook? Was it simply traffic they had to convert on the company’s ecommerce site? Or was there another way to approach these users?
The answer became clear when MVMT stopped looking at Facebook users only as a source of traffic and started seeing them as people who loved the company’s watches and wanted to purchase them instantly and without friction.
Penetrating Customers’ Apps
What if you could stimulate commerce inside mobile applications rather than trying to lure users out of their apps with PPC ads and convert them on your website? After all, apps are the kings of the mobile web since they’re the places users spend the majority of their time. In fact, research suggests users spend as much as 85% of their time inside applications, walled off from the mobile web.
For the first time, users are now spending more time inside mobile applications than they spend watching television:
Image via: Flurry
The risk, at least when running PPC ads designed to persuade users to leave the apps they love and visit a website, is that site landing pages are often one of the leakiest parts of the sales funnel. “It’s easy to get lost on a website,” Stumbaugh says. “So we started thinking about how to make commerce easier for social media users” by bringing it to their apps.
It’s an idea MVMT suggests will shape the future.
A Next Gen Landing Page
Social commerce allows ecommerce merchants to reduce conversion friction, shrink the path to purchase, and increase sales passively.
“It’s really important to cut out steps in the purchasing process,” Stumbaugh says. “It’s almost like having a new landing page, but one customers can purchase from instantly.”
Initial results from MVMT’s social commerce effort on Facebook, which allows MVMT to open a shop at the top of its page, appear promising:
- 1,500 people visited MVMT’s Facebook shop in a recent week
- More than 60,000 users have visited the shop in a recent 90-day period
- The .5% conversion rate has resulted in more than $15,000 in revenue MVMT might otherwise not have gotten
Note: These figures are all assisted by Facebook Ads.
“This is a very similar conversion rate to what we saw at the beginning of the shift to mobile,” Pinsker says. “Our mobile conversion rate more than doubled as people got comfortable purchasing from their phones and we think the potential for growth on our Facebook shop is similar as people become more familiar with the platform.”
“It’s pretty impressive,” Stumbaugh says of the initial Facebook shop results. “It’s just more natural, quicker, and comfortable for customers to check out right there on Facebook.”
One lesson MVMT has already learned and wants to pass along to others considering social selling relates to product mix. Consider this:
- 75% of the revenue generated from the Facebook shop came from the three products prominently displayed there
“So it's really important to put your best selling products up front,” Pinsker says. “The Facebook shop is generating a lot of interest.”
Social Discovery Commerce
The idea of helping consumers organically discover products they ultimately wind up buying is also generating revenue on other platforms. While Facebook is MVMT’s largest source of traffic, Pinterest is the company’s fastest growing traffic source. Besides a 12-fold increase in Pinterest traffic recently, users are also deeply engaging with the brand’s Pinterest page.
During a recent three-month period, the page received:
- 230,557,277 impressions
- 554,522 clicks
- 11,071 conversions
- 1.99% conversion rate
- 403,666 re-pins
“The re-pin numbers have been consistently high,” Pinsker says. “A lot of social and mobile users, especially on Pinterest, are in buying mode, and it’s resulting in really impressive conversion rates.”
The company’s recent promoted pin campaign resulted in a 2x lift in conversions and higher average order values than other traffic sources. Jake Kassan, MVMT’s CEO, recently told Pinterest:
“A Promoted Pin, unlike most other ad formats, continues to drive sales even after the initial promotional campaign has ended. This extended lifespan is unique on Pinterest. On other platforms, once a campaign ends, your ads disappear until you restart them again.”
It’s one reason MVMT is now experimenting with Buyable Pins, which let Pinners buy products directly from the Pinterest app. Just as the company is doing with its Facebook shop, MVMT is providing Pinterest users an opportunity to instantly purchase new releases and sale items without ever leaving the app.
“Pinterest has been a great discovery platform for users,” Pinsker says. “Cutting the path to purchase makes for an optimal user experience and has lead to higher conversion rates.”
As Easy as Commerce Gets
The ability to passively generate new sources of revenue outside traditional ecommerce stores is where MVMT sees the future of commerce headed. “Social commerce allows people who otherwise might not visit our site to buy from us anyway,” Stumbaugh says.
Put another way, it’s money that would’ve likely been spent elsewhere or even with a competitor that next generation marketers like Stumbaugh and Pinsker are seizing right now on social media with little or no extra effort.
“I think this is what everyone is going to be doing in the future,” Stumbaugh says. “Getting in on this early and cutting the number of steps in the conversion process improves the customer experience and helps us grow in new ways.”
About The Author
Nick Winkler is a contributor to the Shopify Plus blog. He helps individuals & organizations generate new leads, make more money, and ignite growth with story. Get more from Nick here.