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SMBs now have about 76 million reasons to get their social and e-commerce strategy married.

Millennials, those between the ages of 18-34, are making social e-commerce more prevalent than ever. According to our Consumer Commerce Monitor™ survey, 56 % of millennial local consumers said that they have interacted with social media in the past 6 months at some point in the purchase funnel and that 32% of all local purchases made in the last year were made online.

While social media may not have the critical significance of mobile, it is becoming increasingly crucial for ecommerce success. If SMBs are ever going to fully commit to goals of social ecommerce, they must integrate the strategy at all points of the consumer purchase funnel. According to our CCM survey data, 49% of millennial consumers reported using social media more often now than they did in the past year for local shopping.

Social networks are strongest as sources of retail influence and product discovery. Roughly a quarter of U.S. social network users have made a purchase on a retail web site after clicking from a social network in the past year, according to a report from Javelin Strategy & Research. According to our CCM survey, 66% of all millennial consumers go to Facebook when they used a social network for local shopping, followed by YouTube (20%), Google+ (16%) and Twitter (14%). Also, 59% of millennial consumers also ranked Facebook as the number one choice for local shopping. Social media was rated the most influential in these top five verticals among millennial local shopping habits:

Auto Services 62.9%
Vacation Package 67.1%
Hair Styling 69.1%
Specialty Clothing 73.5%
Restaurant (non QSR) 78.6%

Source: BIA/Kelsey’s Consumer Commerce Monitor™ (CCM), 2013.

The future of social e-commerce looks promising for small businesses if they can get it right. Let’s take a look at some quick facts about what SMBs are currently doing to capture millennial shoppers. According to our Local Commerce Monitor survey:

— 52% of all SMBs have a Facebook Business Page utilized for advertising or promotion. Followed by 25% of SMBs using Google+ and 24% using Twitter.

— 38% of SMBs use their Facebook pages to acquire new business and customers. Another 27% use it as an awareness and promotion tool.

— 85% of SMBs listed social media as a future marketing priority.

Many SMBs are still trying to understand how best to deliver content to millennial consumers via their social media and ecommerce channels while also reaching new prospects. Advertising on social channels like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest can be the communication channels needed to garner attention. While there is some debate about the overall value of social advertising, it is hard to argue that it offers some of the best targeting available to business owners; especially when their target audience is spending an increasing amount of time on social media.

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