/// Why the "Want" Button Doesn’t Work for Social Commerce
When you’re in the market for a new camera, or a backpack for your 2nd grader, chances are you’ll search Google or Amazon for the product you want, and then scan for the cheapest deal or the best-reviewed product. You might also go directly to a favorite retailer’s Web site and search for the product you want. Where you probably won’t look for this product is in your social stream. Social product discovery and social commerce have very little in common with the considered purchase process described above. Social commerce is better at delivering discovery-driven impulse purchases. Products or services you weren’t necessarily looking for come to your attention in your social stream, you check them out and if you’re interested, you click “Buy.” This impulse purchase behavior is a huge part of retail spending offline — retail marketing association POPAI reports that impulse purchases accounted for 55 percent of retail sales in 2011. So the question is: how can we optimize for social discovery-driven impulse purchases? Most social discovery is driven through a combination of an initial post in the social stream and a follow-on conversation around that post from users of that social network who react to the post. To create more discovery, you have to move both levers: Encourage as much posting as possible and create mechanisms that cause additional interaction downstream. While there are a number of user engagement mechanisms that generate social posts, some work better than others at generating discovery-driven impulse purchases. At Payvment, we’ve mapped the different types of social engagement mechanisms onto a social engagement curve to show the level of user effort, or “friction,” as well as the viral reach of each mechanism. At the top of the curve are automatic, frictionless mechanisms such as “Listen”: these require little or no action by the user and thus generate a high volume of posts and social stream interactions. As you move down the curve, a bit more is asked of the user — for example, clicking on “Like” publicly shares a personal preference about a post, a brand or a product with the user’s friends and network. By introducing more user friction into the mix, the volume of posts decreases. For someone to click “Want” or “Own” on a product, for example, they have to be willing to share both a preference and intent with the rest of the world — introducing quite a bit of user friction. Finally, at the very bottom of the curve are mechanisms that require you to not only share a preference and intent, but also invest your personal friend “equity” into the sharing action, such as “Invite friends,” which only a small percentage of people will be willing to do. Let’s look at how these different engagement mechanisms work in a social commerce context.
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Why the "Want" Button Doesn’t Work for Social Commerce
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