Social commerce. The term tallies as many hits as “Super Tuesday” on Google–which is not surprising, since both are rife with the potential to change the public landscape as we know it over the next few years. As eMarketer reported today, consumer goods companies are moving away from the traditional selling model of going through a retailer and are selling directly to consumers via multiple channels, including social media. Whatever the causal relationship of these shifts, a majority of brand manufacturers in North America were selling direct online through their own or third party websites as of June 2011, according to an IDC survey.
However, brands are not betraying long-standing relationships with retailers for the sake of direct-to-consumer sales. Instead, it seems they are increasingly embracing the multichannel approach while maintaining positive retail connections. Which is smart, because however much social commerce is the belle of the ball in the industry right now, a survey by Argyle Social suggests it’s not quite a reality. Econsultancy, in a post discussing the survey’s infographic, proposed that brands don’t yet understand what consumers want when they choose to engage through social media. And, indeed, recent research by Content and Motion prompted this blunt statement from company’s managing director: “Brands are royally screwing up on social media.”
I wonder, also, if brands are venturing into direct sales and social commerce with a clear (or any) sense of how crucial multi-tiered content merchandising is to succeeding at and maintaining this expansion.
Read more about what consumer goods companies are up to at emarketer.com.