Social Networking is Key to E-commerce Success
Article date: Mon, 29 Mar 2010 16:51 GMT
Business to business companies must look to monetise e-commerce through social networking in 2010, according to industry experts.
With business to consumer sites already reaping the benefits of providing a more interactive, multi-faceted service, B2B websites must follow suit to drive their businesses forward.
Graeme Hastings, business development manager at UKFast, said, "From talking to our clientbase of over 3,000 online businesses, we have found that interaction is the key driver for success in 2010.
"Buying is very emotional, whether it is a printer or a piece of clothing, so greater customer interaction allows businesses to create better usability and encourage repeat business."
As Facebook's global audience exceeds the 350 million mark, more and more companies have turned their attention towards social media as an effective way to combat marketing budget cuts. On the flip side, consumers are using social media as a way to demand more from companies. Online forums are a great source of feedback from current and prospective customers that can help develop business strategy.
With trust an essential component of shopping online, the panel identified building a community as an essential way to gauge opinion and reach consumers faster and more effectively.
Panellist Richard Pepper, managing director of Spilt Ink Studio, has used Facebook as an essential way to engage his clients and gather vital information for his Funky Pigeon personalised cards service.
He added, "Social networking sites have added another dimension to our business. To inspire confidence online you must ultimately be accessible. eBay majorly changed peoples' attitudes towards buying online. They have a very good feedback system and because they allow consumers to give their opinions in a rankings system it inspires confidence."
Graeme added, "You have to listen to your customers. The more people that use the internet and software applications, the more we demand and the higher our expectations become.
"If you don't keep up with that trend of making things quicker and easier for them, even if it is more expensive, then you will never compete in your industry. Social networking sites offer a cost effective forum for every business to engage with their customers."
The round table discussions are held in association with UKFast with the aim of uniting business leaders to share advice and provide a wealth of ideas for other developing companies. Graham Vickers, director of Printerland.co.uk, and David Rodgers, MD of Printcartridgedirect.com, also joined the panel.
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