Ecommerce website design in the age of the social web
Social media has changed the way the world sees the web. The Internet is no longer just a place to browse for news and find products and services to buy. It’s a place we share with our friends and acquaintances. We allow our social connections – facilitated online by social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter – to guide our browsing and buying. What’s cool, new, interesting and worth a look? Chances are we’ll take our cues from one news feed or another.
An ecommerce website designed and developed before the social media revolution was a very different beast from the sites and stores we create in this day and age. Take ecommerce juggernaut Amazon for example.
One of the major reasons people turn to sites like Amazon when they start browsing for products and services is the fact that customer feedback and reviews are prominently incorporated into individual listings. This goes a huge way to encouraging prospective buyers to trust in the product – especially given that they can’t see and touch the product in person.
It all comes down to social proof. We naturally become less suspicious of a product or a retailer if we can see that what other consumers – especially people we know already and are connected to via social media platforms – have to say about it. Reviews lend credibility to the unwaveringly positive things producers have to say of their own products.
Of course, small businesses working to promote and market products and services using an ecommerce website won’t be expecting to compete with the likes of Amazon or eBay. But social proof is just as valid to those operators as it is the goliaths of the online retail world. Incorporating social proof in the form of reviews, Facebook likes, Twitter comments and so forth lends a significant amount of credibility to your pitch.
Harping on about the merits of your product is all well and good. But consumers are wise to the act. Having past customers harp on about it is much more powerful. Having what your business is saying match closely with what your customers are saying is perhaps the most powerful thing you can do in terms of building credibility for your brand and products.
Social media has forced online businesses to be honest and open about their products and services. If the people don’t like it, your customers are going to know about it. But if they do, their being vocal can be a brilliant things for your business.