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2011 to be year of social commerce

12 November 2010 - 12:24 by Simon Crisp

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Experts predict that the current online retail trends suggest most firms will target their efforts on establishing channels in social commerce next year.

This is according to a report from industry analyst Ovum, which believes e-commerce retailers will be hoping to harness social commerce across multiple platforms, including smartphones and even TVs.

The explosion of Facebook and more recently Twitter has given retailers and advertisers entirely new ways to interact with a vast, international audience, although, until now, there has been some reluctance to dive into this medium. Now Ovum estimates that this will change as 2011 arrives and firms move to embrace the march of progress.

Ovum's Christine Bardwell said that despite cynics within the retail industry downplaying the importance of social commerce, 2011 is set to be the year that it matures.

Bardwell explained that big UK businesses have been cautious in their adoption of social commerce as a means to offer consumers safe shopping online, resulting in a small number of successful ventures and a perpetuating of the concept that it is not going to be the next boom segment.

Over the next 12 months social commerce is expected to outgrow its faddish roots and hit the headlines as the best way to engage with consumers and ensure sales, according to Bardwell.

As more than half a billion people use Facebook it is likely that most consumers have already experienced the targeted ads which help to fund the site. By basing ads on the interests of individual users, the retailers can get better value for money and the consumer can find safe shopping online with greater ease than ever before.

While m-commerce is also expected to grow, Ovum identified making purchases via television services as another area to watch next year. Since IPTV services are becoming more common implementing retail within this environment is seen as a simple move.