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Is Your Retail Blog Ready for Social Commerce?

June 10, 2011

Social commerce includes a variety of tools and platforms to help drive a more personalized, interactive shopping experience for consumers.  The lion’s share of the attention today is on social networks- particularly Facebook social commerce- but other social tools exist that can engage and ultimately help convert and retain customers.  One of these includes blogging, which most retailers have incorporated as part of their web strategy in some way.  Sustaining a blogging effort, including keeping it interactive for the shopper and tying it to the brand’s various touchpoints with consumers, can be challenging.  However, if done right, it could help improve customer engagement as well as online revenue.

Online retailers should consider making blogging more social commerce ready in different ways:

Shoppable images and links

Blog content often mentions a product or multiple products, linking directly to the product details page on the commerce site or another page with rich information about the product.   Making the product shoppable directly on the blog entry, whether it be a blog entry, a comment to a blog post or an image embedded in a post, will allow the product to be more easily shopped since the shopper would not have to leave the blog site itself.

We’ve prototyped an easy way for retailers to make blog content shoppable directly in the blog post itself by calling on product data, such as product images, product details, and pricing information within the Demandware ecommerce platform to enable a “hover over” on top of the product name or an image of the product:

Blogging SEO Boost

Blogging can assist with search engine optimization (SEO) by creating more crawlable content for search engines to index and serve up on results pages.  However, the metadata associated with the product must be embedded as part of the blog page itself rather than being pulled in dynamically in real-time.

We’ve also prototyped a way for the product information to be injected into the page automatically when the product is tagged along with links using information from the ecommerce platform.

Integrating blogging “on-site” or on the ecommerce site directly also makes sense.  A couple of ways this could be done include:

Sharing to blog

Social sharing includes not only sharing to Facebook and Twitter, but also to blogs.  Making it easier for consumers to one-click publish from product detail pages to their blogging platform helps to encourage them to blog about your product or brand.  Widgets such as Share This can be embedded on web pages and allow for easy sharing to different blogging platforms, such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr and others.

Blog reviews

User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful way to assist shoppers in understanding more about products, as well as increase the likeliehood of purchase. Just as ratings and reviews, number of Facebook Likes, Tweets, and other UGC is displayed on product detail pages, blog posts themselves that pertain to product could likewise be displayed. A link to the blog post, along with the blog title and even a description could be displayed:

Blogging + Mobile

Shoppers use social capabilities through mobile devices at a very high rate, so making sure the blogging efforts are ready for mobile devices is key.  For instance, making sure your retail blog is mobile-optimized (most blogging platforms like WordPress supply templates that are already mobile web optimized), as well as can be shopped easily from the mobile device are things to keep in mind.  Likewise, allow for mobile-optimized blog reviews and sharing capabilities on your mobile website in addition to ratings & reviews and social sharing to Facebook, Twitter and other social networks that you may already have enabled on mobile.

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