Archives for the month of: June, 2012

After years of saying, ‘I really should…’, I finally bit the bullet last week and bought a pair of Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones while in Hong Kong.

BTW – if you spend a lot of time on planes, I can really recommend them!

But what was really interesting was how they were trying to generate word of mouth for their product. Interesting because they’re trying both social and more traditional word of mouth.

The red card was inserted into the document folder type thing they give you with your receipt, warranty, etc inside. As you can see, they’re inviting me to go and Like their Facebook page for the chance to win – something.

Personally, I don’t think this is super effective. The official Bose fan page on Facebook has no mention this competition. When I type in Bose Hong Kong in Facebook search, I get nothing. So I have to assume I should be on the main Bose page, but it’s hard to be certain. Guys, really, throw me a bone!

Now the offline word of mouth tool is brilliant! Not sure how many French customers they really get in Hong Kong, but anyway, what it  says is, ‘Our customers are often asked about their Bose headphones by others. So, here’s a few cards you can hand out when asked.’

Great idea, huh?

If someone makes a comment about my headphones now, you can be sure I’ll whip out my special Bose card for them. Having the cards not only puts the idea in my head but also kinda makes me feel a bit important because I have something so special that it’s worthy of such a card.

They’ve even been smart enough to put the cards in a special pouch that stays inside your case. Again, two benefits – they’re always on hand AND always front of mind, every time I open the case.

So, kudos Bose on the offline strategy. Still some work to do on the social strategy, but thanks for trying.

 

 

 

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Full Disclosure – I am a HUGE fan of what Andrew Mason was able to create with Groupon.

Like many others, I thought he was nuts for passing on Google’s $6 billion dollar offer but let’s be real, that decision was probably made more by the investors in Groupon than Andrew himself. AND…to be fair, current market cap of the company is nearly $7 billion – even with a share price that’s dropped from $26 to $10 since their IPO in November last year.

BUT…is this Daily Deal space really a sustainable, long-term business?

Well, it looks like even Mason himself thinks the answer to that question is… NO!

HUH?

Yep! In his Letter to Stockholders last month, Mason said they have a new mission

“Our Mission: To Become the Operating System for Local Commerce” – Andrew Mason

WOW! There you go! Straight from the horse’s mouth!

One of the biggest criticisms of Groupon’s business model is that they never really cracked the code of local commerce – at least not in a scalable way. Local Commerce is simply too labour intensive, as Groupon’s high overheads would attest to. And that was with a pretty simple product – ie: Daily Deals. Now, they plan to create an entire ‘Local Commerce Operating System’? How labour intensive do you think that’s going to be?

Personally, I really hope they succeed. I do think it’s a HUGE mission to take on. Still, few would deny that the Daily Deals space is trending down. If that trend continues, Groupon as we know it today will surely die a slow and painful death.

Maybe this will be their saving grace?

Sometimes I even amaze myself at how much cool information I’m starting to find to share with you all. I know there’s only a few of you following my blog but I can see that there are at least a few more of you reading it from time to time. Thanks! Makes it seem all worthwhile!!

Now, back to today’s little gem…a whitepaper on Social Commerce from the guys at Awareness.

Frankly, there’s so much juicy info in this one that it seems a bit silly to try to pull out key take-aways.

BUT…I know you you’re all busy and you need at least a few bullets to get you excited. So, how about this – let me tell you what the 6 Social Principles are that they’re talking about in the title of the paper.

1. Social Proof – which is all about following the crowd

2. Authority – following the leader

3. Liking – following friends & colleagues

4. Reciprocity – which is about returning favours

5. Scarcity – which is about, well, something being scarce & thereby being more valuable

6. Consistency – yeah, doing what you do regularly

There you go! Nothing earth-shattering in that, is there?

The magic is in how you apply each of these principles within the Social Funnel and with B2C and B2B Prospects & Customers.

So, do yourself a favor, CLICK HERE to download your FREE COPY and find out for yourself what it’s all about.

 

Tell me this isn’t the coolest thing you’ve seen come out of a big company in a long, long time!

(Click the image to see the video!)

So what is KLMs Meet & Seat?

As they say themselves…

“Simply log in to Manage my Booking and connect with your Facebook or LinkedIn account. Next you can see other passengers’ profile details and choose your seat of course.”

Sure, there will be some who have lots of privacy concerns, but of course it’s 100% opt-in. So, if you want to remain anonymous, you just don’t use the service.

As one who travels a lot, I tend to enjoy the ‘Me Time’ I get when I’m in the air. Having said that, I can certainly see the benefits a service like this brings by introduces an element of serendipity to what is essentially a fairly sterile experience – airline travel.

Finally, a question for you. Would you consider this a form of Social Commerce?

For us, the answer is a resounding…YES.

What KLM are doing is leveraging the power of the social networks to help drive commerce (ie: get more people to book a seat on their planes). If This Meet & Seat service is something I enjoy, you be sure I will fly with KLM whenever I can. At least until other airlines follow suit and offer the same service. Voila – Social Commerce

Happy Travels!

“The report of my death was an exaggeration”.

So said Samuel Langhorne Clemens (aka Mark Twain) in 1897.

The same can also be said of the many, MANY reports on the future of bricks & mortar retail stores.  Haven’t seen the news? Here’s a few recent stories on the subject…

– Leo Chen at TechCrunch

– Larry Downes at Forbes

– MobileAppMan at HotApps (see, everyone’s talking about it!?!?!)

Now don’t get me wrong, we have no doubt that the world of retail – or more specifically the world of retail distribution – is certainly ripe for disruption. Hell, we’re basing our entire business on it. SocialShout! is all about Social Commerce and Social Commerce is all about disrupting the existing models of retail distribution.

BUT…let’s be realistic. It’s ain’t going to happen overnight.

The guys at Apple – arguably the most successful tech company ever – certainly still place a fair amount of merit on bricks & mortar. Just look at how much time, money & effort goes into their Apple Stores. And…take a look at the image below from the Apple Store in Hong Kong…

This wasn’t a special event. Just a normal day. Two levels of customers buying, touching, learning, living the Apple brand.

‘eCommerce is going to revolutionise the way we buy!’ Really? Well, not really. Not yet, at least. Why not? Lots of reasons. (perhaps a topic for a future post) Regardless, we need to be mindful that the vast majority of purchases of products happen OFFLINE, not online.

Of course, eCommerce and Social Commerce will become increasingly important in the future of retail, but for the time being at least, Bricks & Mortar is still king (in all but a few exceptions).

Like Dr. Paul Marsden said in a recent post on Social Commerce Today – this is an evolution not a revolution.

Incremental changes & enhancements are the most likely path from where we are today to where we will be tomorrow.

 

 

Temkin Group is a customer experience (CX) research and consulting firm. They’ve got lots of great reports and surveys available for sale.

The graphic below is from their Q1 2012 Consumer Benchmark Survey.

The thing that struck me most about this was that almost universally, consumers are more likely to take some form of action if they have a bad experience than if they have a good one.

Of course, we shouldn’t really be surprised by this. I mean, we’ve all heard the stat (or any one of the numerous variations) that tells us a happy customer will tell 1 person, an unhappy customer will tell 10 people, right?

So I started thinking about why we aren’t generating more positive Word of Mouth than negative. By and large, people are not bad. By and large, people prefer to be happy than sad. By and large, people want good experiences, not bad. So, why are we only sharing the bad stuff?

Why? Well, how about this theory….

– because we’re lazy!

Sorry! That’s too negative!! Because we’re too busy with our hectic lives!!! (see how easy it is to put a positive spin on things!?!)

There are just so many distractions in our lives today that we need to be really, really motivated to take any action at all. Unfortunately, anger/disappointment/annoyance, etc are pretty powerful motivators.

BUT…all is not lost.

What about if you could just make it quick & easy to share positive word of mouth? What if you could give your customers a tool to share positive word of mouth right at the point where they are feeling the most committed to your brand – ie: the time when they’re about to open their wallets (or their credit card if we’re online)?

Surely, that should help tip the scales back towards a smiley face.

That’s part of the logic behind our new Social Coupon Tool. At the point of purchase, merchants can offer a coupon code to the customer in return for positive Shout! out to their social networks.

So, some on. Help us turn that from upside down!!

KPMG’s 2012 Retail Industry Outlook Survey is out!

100 CEO and C-level executives from US-based retail companies with $100+ million in annual revenues participated in this detailed survey on the retail industry in the US. 75% of the companies surveyed had between $1 – $10 billion in annual revenue.

When asked what will have the most significant impact on their business, 59% said Online Shopping & 58% said Social Media.

HANG ON A MINUTE…… eCommerce & Social Media?

Sounds an awful lot like Social Commerce to me!

See, I’ve been trying to tell you. Social Commerce is the future.

Get on board now!

Oh, by the way, here’s copy of the full report for those who want to delve into the details.

KPMG 2012 Retail Outlook Survey

 ad·vo·cate/ˈadvəkit/

Noun:
A person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy.
Verb:
Publicly recommend or support:

So here’s the thing, like we’ve been saying for a long time, Word of Mouth is kinda like the Holy Grail of advertising. Long before the likes Mad Men came along, it was the recommendation of a friend or family member or a person of influence in our lives that showed us the light. Not today. These days it seems the only time we’re not being bombarded with suggestions on what to buy is when we’re asleep – and even then you know that one of the gazillion images or sounds bytes you got during the day will somehow find its way into your subconscious. It’s like the ultimate brand placement!

This whole Social Commerce ‘movement’ (maybe that’s too strong a word at this early stage) is all about word of mouth on the social networks. The challenge that companies like ours are facing is how can we help facilitate genuine social word of mouth. How can you cultivate brand advocates that will sing your song to the world? What motivates someone to become a brand advocate?

Our answer (at least part of our answer) is to give merchants a tool that allows their customers generate a coupon code based on how active and how connected they are across the social networks. Now, what that coupon is used for, is entirely up to the merchant. Maybe it’s just a straight discount. Maybe it’s a value add, like Free Shipping or a Free Gift. Maybe, it’s access to special VIP only content or a VIP event. So, we figure we’re putting the power in the hands of the merchant while at the same time rewarding customers based on their social cache.
Of course, there are some who say that incentivising Word of Mouth is not the way to go. Those that will only evangelise your brand in return for discount, deal or offer are not really true brand advocates, they say. Indeed, if this graphic below (from the guys at eMarketer ,based on a date from the folks at Zuberance) is anything to go by, you’d have to say they’re right.

But here’s the thing…how many people do you know who will not accept a discount or a special offer in return for doing something they’re already going to do anyway?

Let’s say I was going to buy my new iPad and charge it on my Visa card. There’s a sign at the register saying ‘Save 5% on all purchases when you pay with your Visa card’. Do you think I’m going to say, ‘No thanks. I was going to use my Visa anyway. Please charge me the full amount.’?

HELL NO!

That’s why we genuinely believe our new Social Coupon Tool makes sense. If you’re willing to spend your money to buy something, chances are you believe in that product – ergo, you’re probably happy to recommend it to someone else – ergo, if there was an easy way for you to do that AND get a little something for yourself (by way of a discount, value add, etc) you’d probably be happy to evangelise the brand, right?

Hey Presto! You’re now a brand advocate!

Not because you got something extra, but because you genuinely like the brand & believe in it.

I’ve just read a great post by Dr. Paul Marsden, Social Psychologist & Digital Ethnographer (I think that means he studies what we do with digital stuff!?!) on Social Commerce Today.

In it, he talks about how success in the area of social commerce has come via plugins – offering incremental benefits rather than revolutionary and disruptive changes. Highlighting a recent $151 million acquisition by Bazaarvoice, Paul argues that there is a real business in plugins.

I think he’s right.

Maybe one day someone (maybe us!!) will crack the magical code and create a true social commerce platform. Still, even then, the platform will need to be built on a firm foundation of Social Networks and Commerce (the name kinda says it all, right?). Until then, it makes sense that plugins will be the key to building a successful Social Commerce business.

Plugins are simple and easy to understand. Plugins can be tried and discarded with minimal side effects. Plugins mean you don’t need to change your whole platform – be it commerce or social.

Think of plugins like all those cool apps you see in Uncle Steve’s App Store. You install them quickly & easily, play around & if you like them, you’ll keep them. If you really like them, you may even be prepared to pay a bit of money for them. Social Commerce plugins can do the same.

So, we’ll certainly be plugin’ away with our plugin – the Social Coupon Tool.

What about you?

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We’re thrilled to announce two new merchants who have joined the SocialShout! Revolution.

Perfume Hall offers all the very best brands from the world of perfumes and fragrances for men & women and will ship anywhere in Malaysia – for FREE!

Bvlgari, Hugo Boss, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo – are just some of the great brands available here.

Do yourself a favour, go and check them out and get great savings with your SocialShout! points.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for something special for your kids? Look no further than ToyDHA2u – Malaysia’s Number 1 site for toys that will educated, inspire and uplift that special young one in your life.

Best of all for those of you on SocialShout!, you can now get great savings on the NEW RANGE of Transfomobile wooden toys.

You’ll find these great new toys listed in the SocialShout! Store now.

 

 

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