Live from the MRC Conference: How Social Media is Moving the E-commerce Needle

Las Vegas—Every few years, something comes along that really moves the e-commerce needle, said Kate Lepow, who handles global payments for Yahoo!, during a panel at the Merchant Risk Council’ s E-Commerce Payments & Risk Conference on March 17. What’s that something right now?

Social media. Facebook is now trading a staggering 5 billion pieces of content a week, Lepow said. So how are merchants taking advantage of the social phenomenon?

Panelist Julie Katruska manager of finance for American Eagle Outfitters, said that the apparel merchant has three Facebook pages. It uses the pages to offer fans unique content and deals, such as “Facebook Friday” promotions, hourly specials and behind-the-scenes coverage of its photo shoots.

American Eagle, which launched a mobile site this past September, also tries to get mobile phone numbers through Facebook, Katruska said.

Expedia is using Facebook and Twitter for content creation, said panelist Cyndi Hoddinott, manager, credit card services for the travel Website. For instance, Facebook users can post the places they’ve visited on a map, she said.

“You have to balance activity and relevance,” Hoddinott said, and always get back to your customers in a timely manner if they contact you via a social media site.

Most marketers are still trying to figure out how they can monetize social media through partners or promotions. As a result, says American Eagle’s Katruska, “merchants are going to see more transactions that are not on their site.”

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