Retailer Caveats for Social Media 'Buy Buttons'

Sep 21, 2015 — Allan Pulga

Anil Kaul, CEO of Absolutedata, warned retailers of a few "traps" related to social media buy buttons today on

"Buy buttons take much of the friction out of the purchasing process, but they present new challenges for retailers," he wrote.

Kaul says buy buttons present retailers with a number of new challenges related to exposure, costs and logistics.

These challenges, according to Kaul, are as follows:

  • Less incidental product exposure
  • Social media platform fees
  • Managing payments and inventory
  • Updates between retailers and social media platforms
  • New testing needs
  • Need to tread lightly to preserve brand integrity

Kaul obviously has a stake in the game. I imagine Absolutedata offers some sort of product content/inventory management system for retailers, or systems to help retailers test integrations with the buy buttons in question.

That said, as with any new e-commerce technology, I don't think big brands have much to worry about in terms of scalability or ROI when it comes to buy buttons. Large retailers like these already have expansive marketing, inventory and e-commerce systems in place, so adding connectivity to buy buttons is just another means for them convert sales.

I don't think Kaul's warnings apply to big retailers, but rather to small business owners lacking sophisticated marekting, inventory or e-commerce systems.

I think some of Kaul's warnings are a little alarmist too. Less incidental product exposure? Um, any exposure is good exposure. If consumers like a product and buy it directly from their social media stream, many will remember the brand and seek out other items that interest them. There's really no difference between a social purchase and a TV ad, for example. Technically, the social purchase is better because you connect marketing and sales in fewer steps.

Likewise, the social media platform fees Kaul cautions retailers about would be negligible to most large retailers.

Ultimately, I think Kaul's above challenges are more applicable to small business owners that don't have sophisticated marketing, inventory or e-commerce systems already in place. Otherwise, his warnings don't really apply.

Topics: e-Commerce, Retail Marketing

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