What Will Close The Gap Between Social Media and E-commerce? It Might Be Bloggers

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The question that most brands keep asking: Does social media have a direct correlation to e-commerce?

According to a report on Mashable, social media influences less than 1% of online purchases. The study traced the origins of 77,000 online sales, and illustrated that when people shop online, search and email, the more traditional forms of marketing, were more effective. Organic search and paid search were more likely to drive customer transactions for those who were searching for something specific, and those who were more of the “just browsing” mindset tended to make purchases from email campaigns.

But then we opened the floor to you, and in a poll 71% of you said that yes, social media does influence your online purchases, while 29% it did not (these are the statistics as of the day this article was written).

So, what's going on here?

As most of our audience are fashion bloggers, or avid fashion blog readers, our smaller poll might actually provide some insight into the future of social media and e-commerce as the general public continues to get more digitally-savvy. In the comments section of our poll, some of you noted that what you see on social media is more inspirational than practical. Others said that they have, in fact, bought items directly off of Pinterest.

Women's online super store, Sophia Amoruso's Nasty Gal, has tapped into the power of social media, translating “likes” into sales with little to no discounting or conventional advertising; however, they do update their social network pages at least five times a day. Considering they were named the “fastest-growing company in Los Angeles and fastest-growing company period,” it seems like Amoruso may be on to something.

While attempts are currently being made to bridge the gap between social media and sales, (Facebook recently re-launched their marketplace feature and their “gifting” forum, and Pinterest has been tinkering with brands, such as Amazon's PinPointing initiative), there has yet to be a clear solution to the problem. Sites like The Fancy and The Cools have attempted to combine “social” and “shopping,” but have yet to pull in enough of a following to outweigh Pinterest or Instagram.

But then there's the middle man (or woman) who might be able to help brands overcome the social media to money gap — the bloggers. But how?

Bloggers can be a vital branch in how optimizing how brands reach their consumers.

While most brands have taken to simply using social media to promote their product, it seems like the more successful approach has been in building up their own editorial content to accompany why a consumer should make a purchase. Rather just flashing a photo with a “Buy this!” caption, successful bloggers understand how to market to a broader audience, and know what people want to see and hear on each particular platform. The study from Mashable may currently seem low, but I wouldn't be surprised if this numbers increases greatly as social media (and blogs) become an everyday part of a household (even those who not are not considered “techy”).

What do you think about the gap between social media and e-commerce? Do you think bloggers have a role to play in bridging the gap?

[Image credit: Shutterstock]

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9 Responses

  1. Toni Styles

    I think as more consumers embrace technology and subsequently become more comfortable shopping online – bloggers will be the ones to influence these sales. “Real People” if you will. Brands are slowly but surely coming to realise that bloggers already do and can fill the gap. The great thing is – there is so much diversity among brands and bloggers, we can help one another in very targeted, defined ways unlike traditional advertising. It’s all very exciting.

    http://rhythmandruffle.com <3

  2. Rachel

    I definitely think bloggers play a huge role. Just since I’ve started blogging, I’ve learned about new brands and items and made purchases from their links and reviews. While it’s hard on the wallet, I love this whole new avenue of shopping I’ve discovered!

    Glitzy Blues</a

  3. Kathleen Lisson

    I think consumers need to be able to tell themselves a story about why they are buying a brand. Do they identify with the brand story itself? Do they think the style of clothes or accessories complements their personal style? Do famous people or people they admire wear the brand?

    There will always be polyvore set bloggers that optimize for clicks and top commissions, but some bloggers have really emerged as style icons for their audiences. If I see a style blogger that has a similar lifestyle to mine wearing three brands I like and a fourth I don’t know about, I will be interested to find out about this new brand.


  4. Bree

    I definitely think bloggers have a huge influence on online purchases. I know that I certainly am more inclined to purchased something online if I see how someone styled it and how it fits. I think bloggers have closed a gap because they show how real women wear real clothes and so the clothes being shown in posts becomes a reality for the consumer.

  5. Jacqueline Jax

    Word of mouth is the most powerful selling tool there is. As a fashion designer and full time blogger, I have seen first hand the transformation of the online marketplace and I have felt the curve as we press forward into a new age of advertising. Pay per click is no longer an option, today’s customer wants to see things in real time on real people and be entertained in the process. That’s our future.

  6. Sarah

    Seeing products worn on fellow bloggers does incline me more to want to buy a product. There is something about seeing an item on a real person and getting a greater sense of size, fit, and colour compared to on a online e-commerce website. Often the blogger will then write about the product and its quality, texture and feel – something that you wouldn’t normally know until it had been delivered.

    Sarah x

  7. Michael

    I believe that blogging and all forms of social media are important to people when they are thinking about purchasing, in fact they can often influence a decision one way or the other.

    Fashion blogging is an independent act, and a generated purchase is very difficult to analyse when there are no trackable ties with the eventual purchase. With paid advertising such as Google PPC and Affiliate linking there is always a way to see the conversion.

    A person may read a fashion blog and go off and search for that very same product and then make the purchase, under these circumstances, there is no credit to the fashion blog that started the ball rolling.

    Therefore, I believe a 1% credit to bloggers is way short of the mark, proving it on the other hand is not so easy.

    Michael @ Bras & Honey

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