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Social media study reveals best practice

By Retail Technology | Tuesday June 18 2013

Research into how online order confirmation pages are used to increase sales and customer engagement reveals retailers are missing out

A recently released 28-page study into the role online order confirmation pages can play in boosting sales and social media interaction with customers has found many retailers are missing a trick.

Social media platform Owned it studied the presence, prominence and type of social media elements found on the order confirmation page to determine whether retailers encouraged followers or social actions via established social media channels.

The company expected to find prominent Facebook buttons in the majority of retailer’s order confirmation pages. But, while 53% of the retailers included a Facebook button, only 13% displayed Facebook and other social media buttons prominently. By prominent, Owned it means in colour, above the fold and large enough to be seen easily. Often these buttons were in the top right of the page. Further, only 3% of retailers asked their customers to take a specific action, such as House of Fraser asking customers to “Like us on Facebook.”

Facebook and Twitter were the most popular social media channels, while 20% pointed their customers towards the latest social media community Pinterest. Only 17% asked their customers to follow a blog.

Long and short-term incentives 

Incentives to continue shopping varied, with 7% of retailers offering money off or cash back vouchers, ranging from £10 cash back to 15% off next purchases; while other incentives included 30% off for new customers shopping in store to free business cards.

Manoj Krishnapillai, co-founder of Owned it, commented on the fact that the study found only 7% encourage social sharing, 13% display social media elements prominently and 30% offered immediate incentives. “While most retailers focus on converting customers up to the point of purchase, they are obviously failing to make effective use of the order confirmation page to increase sales further,” he said. 

“With the UK e-commerce market predicted to reach £87 billion in 2013, retailers have a greater opportunity to take a larger slice of this sector by increasing referrals, revenue, conversions and followers/fans through an optimised order confirmation page.”

The potential opportunity being missed by retailers that are not optimising their order confirmation pages is staggering: taking Argos (number two in the IMRG/Experian Hitwise Hot Shops List top 100) as an example, online sales account for £1.6 billion of its turnover. The study argued that, taking a conservative view where even if 1% revenue is increased by encouraging customers to take a social action, such as referring their purchase via social media or email, Argos could conceivably see an increase in sales of £16 million – all for the cost of adding a referral feature at the point of sale. 

Capitalising on opportunities

Owned it’s industry data also showed that a much higher follow-on sale rate of 5-15% is being achieved by retailers that do promote social interaction or incentives at the order confirmation stage – if Argos could replicate these figures, the potential increase in revenue through social sharing at the point of sale ranges from £80 million to £240 million.

Using the information contained within the study, Owned it co-founder Sonu Bubna set out some top tips for retailers looking to optimise their order confirmation page:
  • Proactively ask customers to engage in social actions such as like/ follow a brand and share the purchases products
  • Track product sharing or social media follows
  • Offer a combination of immediate and longer-term incentives
  • Identify key brand advocates also understand how and why customers are engaging on social media
  • Optimise campaigns for different products/customers
  • Consolidate information into one page

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