Beyond Pinterest: The Best Of Other Social Commerce Business Models

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Facebook and Pinterest may be the biggest players in social media – but they don’t own the social commerce space. Social commerce is still a young category, with room for new formats and innovations that might bring the worlds of social media and e-commerce into closer synergy.  

Other players, from daily deals site Groupon to Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, have also tried to leverage social ingredients to boost retail sales, drive user engagement, and build brand loyalty.

In a recent report from BI Intelligence, we look at successful examples of businesses and business models for generating commerce via social media-based strategies, analyse Pinterest’s success as a social commerce platform, look at Facebook’s potential as a social commerce contender, and examine the e-commerce conversion and order value gap. 

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Here’s an overview of the “best of the rest” social commerce business models:

  • E-commerce that is social: The difference between “new” and “old” e-commerce is merchandising. Social commerce is all about helping consumers discover merchandise they didn’t know they wanted to buy, and to help friends and families make better buying decisions. Newer e-commerce companies — such as Gilt, Fab, Jack Threads, and One King’s Lane — are integrating social media like Facebook deeply into their interfaces to leverage the virality of fashion trends. On these sites consumers might feel that they’re making smarter, more confident purchases when they’re aware that friends have done the same. 
  • Daily deals: Groupon, which created the “daily deal” category, grew faster than just about any other company in history. 33% of tablet owners and 22% of smartphone owners have used their mobile device to search for coupons or deals. If Groupon can lock down the growing mobile coupon space, and leverage mobile usage to create more local commerce opportunities, it can become a force to be reckoned with again.
  • Tumblr is one platform to watch: The Tumblr platform is all about discovering and sharing images and things that you love, and it’s extremely popular with a youthful and loyal user base. It could pivot quite effortlessly to privileging brand and product pages and could add “Buy” buttons to brand and retailer posts. The site could also leverage the many niche communities that use Tumblr to offer them discounts and coupons, much like what Groupon offers local businesses, retailers, and brands that make use of its services.
  • Shoppable photo apps: Another take on social commerce is in “shoppable photo apps.” On, users can upload photos of products from their wardrobe and tag them by brand, so other users can see how people mix and match styles. Brands, retailers, and e-commerce sites can push out offers and links to shopping carts to users. 

The report is full of charts and data that can be easily downloaded and put to use. In full, the report: 

  • analyses successful examples of businesses generating commerce via social media-based strategies (such as Groupon, Fab, and Jack Threads)
  • Conducts an in-depth look at Pinterest’s success as a social commerce platform
  • Looks at Facebook’s potential as a social commerce contender
  • Examines the e-commerce conversion and order value gap. 

To access BI Intelligence’s full reports on The Rise Of Social Commerce, sign up for a free trial subscription here.

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