E-Commerce Social Integration Study With Examples – 100 Online Retailers Analyzed

E-commerce social media integration is on the rise and most online retailers are integrating social in some fashion on their websites. Whether they utilize above fold real estate to do so or are burying it deep within product pages, there is no doubt that integrating it with the traditional website is important for brands.

We decided to answer the following questions by analyzing the top 100 retailers on-site social media integration, we used the following list of companies to do so:

  • What percentage of sites have some sort of social sharing integration?

Homepage Specific

  • What percentage of sites utilize homepage real estate to promote their social presences?
  • What percentage of sites promote their social assets, such as Twitter, Youtube, Facebook etc?
  • What percentage of sites promote their Facebook Fan page?
  • What percentage of sites promote their Twitter page?

Product Page Specific

  • What percentage of sites have product page social sharing integration?
  • What percentage of sites utilize FB Like functionality?
  • What percentage of sites utilize FB Share functionality?
  • What percentage of sites utilize the addthis widget for sharing?

 

Homepage Social Integration

Product Page Social Integration

So what does all this mean you might wonder? 

  1. Facebook.com was often promoted by itself on the homepage of sites while Twitter wasn’t. According to these 100 sites Twitter does not appear to be as important of a social channel to grow as Facebook.
  2. Social and sharing callouts were typically near email newsletter signup callouts.
  3. Facebook share is still the most popular sharing mechanism, over Facebook like. Possibly because marketers realize the value in the title manipulation capabilities, thumbnail and news feed aggregation option it has that the like button doesnt.
  4. More sites currently use the addthis widget than facebook like on their sites.
  5. The top retailers were more likely to utilize homepage space for social callouts than product landing pages.
  6. Athleta, Avon, CableOrganizer.com, CVS, ElderLuxe.com, Faucet.com , Garmin, Goldspeed.com, Max Furniture, Mymms.com and Smith & Noble felt no need to promote their social assets or implement any sort of social sharing on their sites. This begs you to wonder why, and makes you question, are there greater problems at the wheel that would keep them from doing so?

Below you will find screenshots of social integration in action, on some of the sites we analyzed.

Homepage Social Callouts

ActionEnvelope.com

Ebags.com

EddieBauer.com

Fatbraintoys.com

Gap.com

Gardeners.com

Itunes.com

Landofnod.com

Novica.com

Shoeline.com

Sweetwater.com

Vans.com

Walmart.com

Social Sharing On Product Pages

AE.com

Anthropologie.com

Bestbuy.com

Bluefly.com

Bluenile.com

Buy.com

Chapters.indigo.ca

Crutchfield.com

Csn.com

Designbyhumans.com

Esteelauder.com

Eyebuydirect.com

Fathead.com

Journeys.com

Jtv.com

Karmaloop.com

Levis.com

MusicNotes.com

Popcuts.com

Skymall.com

Sunglasshut.com

Wetseal.com

Zappos.com

In Closing

A large majority of the sites (67% of them in fact) feel integrating some sort of social sharing on their site is worth doing. 73% of the top 100 retailers also feel the need to promote Twitter or Facebook on their site. If you thought social wasn’t becoming mainstream yet, then judging by these 100 sites I think its pretty safe to say it is. There is real value in integrating your current site with sharing features and promoting your Facebook/Twitter presences where applicable.

With that said, it is important to test any sort of integration you do. At the end of the day you want more sales, so if all those additional callouts are inhibiting them, take them down! Stacking 15 different sharing buttons near your buy button might not be worth it and could deter users. Taking up 15% of your above the fold homepage screen real estate for your Facebook fan widget might not be helping your bottom line like you think. Test, Measure and Optimize.

I am curious though what you think about all of this. Leave your comments below.

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8 Comments
  • Falconer
    Posted at 19:22h, 03 August

    Great research. It would be interesting to know how many of these sites integrate more heavily with social media, for example by using Facebook Open Graph API, Connect etc.

  • BrianChappell
    Posted at 19:27h, 03 August

    Thanks Falconer. I can say off the top of my head only a few of the online retailers had actually integrated Facebook connect.

    One of the sites had actually built a FB app for users to ‘shop together’

    Outside of that most of the sites social integration was pretty vanilla. I will probably do another post to highlight sites that have integrated social more tightly. ie; taking advantage of FB connect, FB apps and other custom sharing mechanisms.

  • Chantal
    Posted at 13:20h, 04 August

    Hi Brian,

    Thnx for your great overview!
    Indeed, e-commerce social media integration is key to creating close communities around a brand and ultimately stimulate conversion. However, I think that companies could and should integrate more tightly with social media than just placing a Facebook like button or adding a follow us on Twitter/Facebook button on their website.

    In my opinion, a great example of an application that ensures this tighter integration of websites/ webshops with social media is a real-time social shopping application developed by the Dutch startup http://www.shopwithyourfriends.com.
    The app places a ‘shop together’ button on each product detail page and enables consumers to live discuss the product with their online friends from Facebook, Twitter and MSN Messenger based on co-browsing techniques. This way, companies could really integrate social media with e-commerce (= social commerce) in real-time while providing their consumers an enriched shopping experience.

    Several Dutch webshops have already implemented the application, e.g. http://www.jeansonline.nl. Take a look there or visit the website shopwithyourfriends.com for the demo and the video.

    Would love to hear your opinion on this app, since it takes social commerce a step further!

  • passerby
    Posted at 19:39h, 04 August

    Nice article! Thanks for all the examples of e-commerce social media integration.

  • Zuupy
    Posted at 03:53h, 07 August

    I think that this is a good start for integrating social into commerce (instead of integrating commerce into social, which seems to be what retailers are fond of doing nowadays, questionable move I might add). However, the integrations covered in this article merely skim the surface of what is possible today, especially with the Graph API. What is happening now is merely providing one-way broadcast tools or external links to social networks, not deep integration a la essentially integrating the whole of Facebook itself on the storefront (it’s very possible, just look how we’re doing it here at Zuupy @ http://zuupy.com). I personally believe that social itself has a lot of potential; the key is to find the best way to leverage whatever it has to offer to sustainably and organically drive growth and sales.

  • samraatkakkar
    Posted at 08:44h, 13 August

    Hi

    grt research.

    However I agree with Brian, some of the things that the e-commerce sites have done are hygiene factor considering the current ” social” environment…what is important is to fuel these social communities & making transactions more social..

  • Ricardo Saavedra
    Posted at 16:50h, 17 January

    I would like to see it examples of suggestions based on friends purchases.

  • WordPress Ecommerce
    Posted at 15:44h, 26 March

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly
    about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain
    expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is
    extremely helpful for me.
     

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