Social Media’s Impact on Ecommerce Sales and a Few Comments on Comments

When it comes to ecommerce and a social media strategy people have strong opinions about what works and what doesn’t. Because of those beliefs they’ll do everything they can to try and prove they’re right while trying to make it known someone else doesn’t know what they’re talking about. So when I happened across a an article highlighting a report issued by Forrrester Research and GSI Commerce that discussed social media’s very low impact on enterprise ecommerce sales, I could almost see the comments bubbling up from the bottom of the page.

With that said, there are two things I want to hit on real fast today. First of all, the report (

Data that was gathered over the 2010 holiday shopping season calls out the fact that less than 2% of all orders were a result of buyers coming directly from a social media site. No big surprise there. Most people I know don’t use Facebook as a direct path to an ecommerce purchase. The report does highlight, however, the fact that people do follow an online retailer’s social media site in order to seek out short term deals, and then share those deals with others.

Although in most cases social media may not be the straight path to a sale, shoppers are savvy about understanding where to seek out offers and discounts. To really understand the impact that a social media presence can have on sales, enterprise ecommerce retailers need to be in tune with what it is consumers are really after.

A separate report ( issued by IBM last month reveals the disparity between the reasons why customers actually interact with companies via a social media site and the reasons why a business thinks consumers follow them. Here’s a brief synopsis, and a quick view of what is referred to as the social media perception gap. If you’re in ecommerce and have an active presence in the world of social media, both these reports are worth a look…that is, unless you know all this already.

That leads me to part two of this post.

After reading the above-mentioned article I wandered into the trailing commentary to see what the “experts” were saying. It seems a good number of people missed the point of the report, and instead raced to enlighten the masses with their own expertise on how to best make social media work for ecommerce. Some of the comments were spot on, others, not so much. I was also slightly taken back when I noticed people were bad mouthing Forrester for even conducting this study–a study that will no doubt be very revealing to some people.

Like social media conversations, people’s comments are often insightful, sometimes misguided, occasionally pointless, and can potentially burn up hours of a day if you’re not careful. I’m always amazed that people seem to have unlimited amounts of time to respond to articles, blog posts, and news columns, especially when a comment is longer than the original post. Let me just say I understand that the ability to leave comments almost anywhere online empowers people to speak their minds and voice their opinions, but when I see a comment that requires 750 words or more to do it, well, it’s time to start your own blog or write your own articles.

All that said in less than 550 words. Phew!


Jared Matkin is a staff writer for HotWax Media with a background in PR, Branding and Marketing. He’s also a light-hearted and an opinionated character who will join other HotWax Media employees and advisers in periodically posting his thoughts on topics ranging from enterprise eCommerce to business and technology.

DATE: Apr 30, 2011
AUTHOR: HotWax Systems
Enterprise eCommerce, Jared Matkin