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Now THIS is pretty cool.

The funky folks at Target (pronounced ‘Tar-jey’, if you want to make it sound a bit posh!?!) have just launched Falling For You.

What is it?

Well, they call it a short film but it’s really presented as a series of short episodes (Episode 1 is just 3 mins long – smart!) to be viewed online.

What’s the movie about?

Not sure actually. That’s not really the point anyway.

What Falling For You is really all about is selling products.

You see, as the film progresses, on the right of the screen, you’re shown a list of all the items from the scene that you can buy from Target. Click on an item as it appears and it will be added to your favourites.  Then, when the episode finishes you can check out your favourites, share them on Facebook, Twitter & Pintrest and then of course, the ultimate goal, go on to buy them – either online or in a Target store.

Cool! Huh?

What’s interesting to us is that the only true Social Commerce aspects of this thing is in the sharing or pining of the items.  It wouldn’t be a huge step to make the whole experience story a lot more social and interactive. Here’s a few ideas…

–          Viewers vote on what the characters will do next

–          Viewers vote on what clothes the characters will wear

–          Viewers ‘Build a Scene’ by selecting stuff from Target

The biggest challenge Target will have with this is making sure the story and the characters are compelling enough to keep viewers engaged. The big name enlisted so far is Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, You Again) but even so, the first episode wasn’t exactly edge of the seat stuff – if you know what we mean 😉

Nevertheless, kudos to Target for a great initiative!

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Cool your jets! Hold your horses! Hang on a minute!

We always said we didn’t want to just blog for blogging’s sake. We wanted to make sure we didn’t waste your time reading a post unless we had something to say. Obviously, we also wanted to make sure that whatever we said was relevant to our wheelhouse – Social Commerce.

Well, over the past week or so, we haven’t really seen anything interesting happening and so we felt compelled to shut up…until now!

You see, within 24 hours we got emails of blog posts from two of the smartest blokes going around – Seth Godin & Mark Suster.

Both posts essentially supported the same notion that we’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

That notion…

or

  •  you can’t sell tomorrow to people who want to buy today (to paraphrase Godin’s post)

Of course, then you have the Henry Ford perspective which famously contends…

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Steve Jobs was always a firm believer in this philosophy too.

So, if you reckon you have the intuitive genius of Steve Jobs or Henry Ford, go right ahead and build the future today – right now.

BUT…we’d recommend you give some thought to the wisdom of Seth Godin & Mark Suster, lest you find yourself being just a bit too early and end up having to sell tomorrow to a market that is only interested in today.

We just read a very interesting article from Yoni Assia, CEO of eToro.

Here’s his post…

How Google can overtake Facebook in Social Commerce in 3 Steps

As you can get from the title of the post, Yoni’s suggestion is that Google+ is ideally positioned to rule the Social Commerce space. Interesting, huh?

Yoni suggests that ads on Facebook haven’t really worked because the platform is highly personal at its core and so people don’t really respond to ads in this environment.

No argument from us that Facebook ads haven’t quite clicked (pun intended) yet, but we reckon this is more because we (and by we we’re talking all of us marketeers) haven’t yet worked out how to deliver the message on Facebook in a way that makes it more social – ie: more personally relevant.

Remember those first TV ads? They we’re basically a spokesperson standing in front of a camera, reading the teleprompter. It took the marketeers a while to work out how to create the right content for the new platform. The same is happening now with social ads.

Of course, this is part of what we’re trying to do at SocialShout! – deliver meaningful word of mouth promotion across the social networks. We’re trying to find a better way to deliver brand messages in a social setting.

Yoni talks about how the current search model of Google is geared towards low-cost/high-margin stuff and doesn’t really take account of many of the social aspects of promotion like virality, social proof, etc in their algorithms. Good point. He also suggests a few small changes they could introduce to skew the equation more towards social.

I’d recommend you read his post to get a better understanding of this bit.

To sum it up…

“G+ just needs to become the ‘Facebook for business’, the place to see what your friends are buying, and for how much.”, says Yoni.

Food for thought, huh?

PS: Thanks Yoni for a great post and for getting us thinking!

PPS: The book is not by Yoni. We just liked the image.

Full Disclosure – when we first heard about Payvment, we said ‘Ho Hum’.

Not that we thought there was anything wrong with it, but their product was basically a platform to create Facebook Stores and there seemed to be sooo many others doing that. Why would Payvment be any different?

Well, first up, they made it a FREE service – not only free to list but free when you sell too. If you want more detailed analytics and promotional tools, you have an option of paying $30 a month.

Next big thing they did – they created Lish.

Lish is where the top trending (not necessarily top selling) items from all the Payvment stores appear in a very Pintrest-ish way. Top trending products are those that are getting the most attention, clicks, comments, shares, purchases, etc.

Yes, it’s another social discovery site.

CEO, Jim Stoneham (previously VP of Communities at Yahoo) says in this quick intro video,  it’s like ‘walking though a vibrant mall with your friends, where you discover cool products at every turn and can easily buy anything that strikes your fancy’.

Now that’s interesting. This is perhaps the best answer to a question we’ve been asking ourselves for a while…

Q. Why, in a world where time seems to be the most limited and valuable resource we have, are these social discovery-type sites getting so much attention?

A. See Jim’s comment. It’s just like that shopping mall experience – without the crowds & the parking hassles of course!!

Maybe it’s just that simple? (we still think something just doesn’t add up though)

Anyhoo, back the the story…

There’s so many other things to like about Lish

– the cool landing page

– the THREE emoticons (we love the simplicity of these and the novelty of this ‘meh’ face!)

– the invite only sign up process that creates a sense of exclusivity (see below)

– the simple payment process (via PayPal)

–  and of course that highly visual main page (see below)

We’re not sure about the absence of a Search feature though. True, it’s consistent with the discovery aspects of the site. Also, Lish does have a few very board categories at the top of the page, which can help narrow down the stuff you’re looking at, but some people still like to go right to what they’re looking for.

Our opinion is if the visuals are appealing enough, most people will still scroll through for a while anyway on their own little discovery journey. However, when the novelty wears off, you want to get to what you want, buy it and then get back to work before your boss walks past your desk!

That would be an interesting stat. How many purchases on Lish are made at work?

Final point, maybe not significant to the overall success of Lish but it harks back to Jim’s comment about discovering cool stuff. What is cool?

Frankly speaking, with the possible exception of a couple of interesting jewellery items, we didn’t find anything especially cool. Maybe there’s a good opportunity here for some celebrity factor? One of the categories could be ‘Celebrity’ and there you can see what’s trending with your favourite celebs.

Maybe ‘cool’ isn’t critical but ‘relevant’ is.

The key to long term success for the likes of Lish is making that social discovery relevant to me before they lose my attention.

Judging from the rapid learning and evolution of this company so far, we’re pretty sure they’ll get there (or maybe ‘stay there’ is more apt!).

Earlier this week Gavin Michael, Chief Technology Innovation Officer at Accenture wrote a great post on Fortune Tech about The new rules of Social Commerce. Gavin suggested that so far most companies efforts at Social Commerce have really been ‘brochureware’ – ie: just copy/paste what they did on the eComm site or copy the actions they take with their traditional marketing and that’s all they’d really do.

As we’ve spoken about a few times here (and as Gavin himself suggested) that’s just like things were when the internet first started. There were no rules or guidelines for the early movers so everyone just had to kinda work it out as they went along. So, it’s ok that there’s still lots missing in companies Social Commerce strategies.

What we want to try to do here, is help you learn from the lessons of the early movers and see what you can take to apply to your own business.

Enter Tesco.

You’ll probably recall they came up with that really cool Subway Supermarket concept in Korea a while ago.

 

Well, now they’ve done something a little less dramatic, but nonetheless equally interesting – at least in terms of the results.

For Tesco’s ‘Share & Earn’ campaign they created a simple Facebook App that encouraged their members to share products from the store across their social networks. Whenever a friend clicked one of those links and made a purchase, the advocate earned bonus Clubcard Points (Tesco’s loyalty programme).

The result? Social Sharing of products on Tesco’s Facebook page went from 26% to 54% of all comments posted. That’s an increase of over 100%!

Morever, general sentiment also increased with ‘Positive Buzz’ soaring to 63% after being only 44% a week earlier.

And what did all this noise create in terms of real, direct sales?

No idea! Sorry, we aren’t able to get that information.

But like Gavin says in his article, Social commerce needs to become an “and,” not an “or.” It’s not a magical cure for all you business woes. Instead, it’s all about common tools and strategies deployed across multiple sites, apps, platforms and fora to give targeted customers specific and rich experiences.

 

Special Thanks to Leonie Bulman at wavemetrix for the news and results of Tesco’s social experiment.

Imagine what eBay would look like, if it was launched today.

It would, of course, be built from the ground up with strong social functionality. It would also probably incorporate some of the highly visual elements of something like Pintrest. We reckon it would also take a minimalist approach to design, a bit like Google+.

What would eBay look like if it was launched today? Shook.

Shook defines itself as an ‘open auction house’ that allows users to create an auction online to sell just about anything and then spread it across the social networks. When you place a bid on an item, it’s automatically shared across your social graph. The idea is to make the bidding process fun, engaging and interactive – just like it is in real life.

We were so taken with the concept that we reached out to them. We got in contact with CEO, Niv Taiber, and asked a few questions…

Q. Why did you start Shook?

A. We tried selling a used desk on Craigslist and when we got no response we decided to post it on Facebook and see what happened. In just a few hours, it was SOLD! That’s when we realised that social networks could be a great platform to help anyone sell anything online.

Q. When did you launch?

A. June 15, 2012

Q. How’s the response so far?

A. So far we have a few thousand users. Sometimes the buy. Sometimes they sell.

Q. What’s your revenue model?

A. Honestly, it’s not really a focus for us right now. We want to make sure we get the user experience right before we worry about monetising it. Ultimately, we’ll look at taking a small transaction fee, say 4%, from the sale.

Finally, here’s a little bit about the founders…

  • o Idan Lahav, CTO

Technology passionate, has a strong technological background, studied Computer Science at Interdisciplinary Center. Former developer at Soluto, which aims to solve user’s frustration with their computer’s performance issues.

  • Niv Taiber, CEO

Born-programmer, studied Computer Science at Interdisciplinary Center, finished on Dean’s list. Former developer at InsFocus & professor’s assistant at college.

Go and check it out and let us know what you think.

PS: Soluto is pretty cool too.

Ok, quick recap…What is Social Commerce?

By our definition… leveraging the social networks to drive commerce – be it online or offline.

One of the key features of Social Commerce is disruption.

Disruption of advertising & promotion channels, of sales channels and even the disruption of distribution channels.

Indeed, it’s the ability of Social Commerce to disrupt these existing elements of business that make it such a compelling thing.

Case in point – Glamagem.

Glamagem is an online fashion jewellery store with a twist – a couple of twists actually. One twist is that the collections are curated and designed by a couple of regional fashion celebrities. Smart! Use the power of celebrity to bring customers.

Anyone can visit the site and buy jewellery. BUT (and here’s the next twist) if you want to buy any of the special Limited Edition pieces, you need to be a member. That means paying around USD $90 per month. Sure, with that membership you also get a 10% discount coupon but with prices of items in the store ranging from $10 – $80, you’re not really getting any additional value out of your membership. You’re just paying for access to Limited Edition items.

So, with the current model, the success of this business will hinge on how desirable these Limited Edition pieces are. Being celebrity curated & designed should certainly help with that.

Glamagem is a self-proclaimed social commerce business. Personally, we can’t really see too many special features that make their site any more or less social than any other online store, but they are certainly using all the standard Share-type buttons and features to try encourage members to help spread the word.

The reason we’re even telling you about Glamagem is that we think with just a few little tweaks, the entire business could be driven by social commerce. The other reason is, like we said, Social Commerce is all about disruption. These guys are disrupting a traditional distribution model. What can you learn from them in building out your own social commerce features?

This business raises an interesting question for us about trying to build an ‘exclusive’ business via social networks.

In the FAQs of Glamagem, they say that all their pieces are made in limited quantities. (Maybe they should change the name of their ‘Limited Edition’ pieces to ‘Lisa S Collection’ or ‘Chi Chi Collection’ – yes, they’re the fashion celebrities behind them!)

What happens if they sell out? Well, again based on their FAQs…Bad Luck!

The great thing about this is it helps create scarcity. Get in quick or miss out!

The problem with this, at least from a Social Commerce perspective, is why would I want to tell my friends about it? The more members of the club, the more chance of an item being sold out, the more chance I will miss out. I may share it with my BFF, but I sure won’t want to share it with everyone.

Hmmm? Could be a whole series of posts on how to use Social Commerce to build a business based on scarcity and exclusiveness.

What do you think? Can it even be done?

The Zuck has oft been quoted as saying his mission is to make the world more open and connected. Very noble Zuck, thanks!

One of the key principles necessary to make this happen is Freedom of Speech. The only problem with Freedom of Speech is it means you need to let the moronic, the ignorant and the downright hateful have their say too.

So, what if one of those hateful, ignorant morons makes a nasty comment on your company’s Facebook wall or Twitter stream? Of course, if you’re a normal, rational person, you remove it and probably block that person from posting again. Maybe that doesn’t strictly adhere to the tenets of Free Speech, but who cares – it’s the right thing to do.

BUT…what if you didn’t even see that post?

AND…what if someone else DID see that post – and was offended by it?

According the Advertising Standards Bureau in Australia (ASB), you are responsible for that content!

Didn’t post it? Doesn’t matter! Didn’t even see it? Still doesn’t matter!

See, what happened is, a few of these haters joined the Smirnoff Vodka Facebook page as Fans and then posted some pretty crude stuff. Someone took offence and lodged a complaint with the ASB, who are the self-regulatory body of the Ad industry in Oz.

Smirnoff’s owners, the mega-booze barons Diageo, argued that Facebook was a tool for networking and communicating, not advertising. The ASB held that Facebook can also absolutely be a tool for marketing and promotion – and therefore is subject to the same standards of behaviour as any other publishing platform.

Hmmm? Methinks we have a dilemma!

This follows on from a similar decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) last year where they charged a company called Allergy Pathway for having false and misleading statements on their Facebook and Twitter pages – even though they didn’t post them.

The way we see it is this should all come down to what’s fair and reasonable. If someone posted something nasty on your Facebook page at 3am, while you were all snuggled up in bed and then someone on the other side of world saw it and took offence and lodged a complaint about you, before you even woke up, should you be held accountable?

Maybe Facebook needs to implement a ‘moderate first’ function to company pages, much like many forums do.

What do you think?

 

PS: Thanks to Smart Company for much of the info & inspiration for this post.

In a recent post on Business2Community, Tom Bishop suggested that social networks are more like a playground than a shopping mall. The anaology was made to highlight the argument that direct selling on social networks doesn’t really work. The suggestion being that people don’t go to social networks to shop.

We do agree with Tom that social networks are certainly not a place for the hard sell. Maybe they’re not even a place to buy. But they certainly are a place to shop.

Shopping is the process of looking for something to buy.

So whilst you may not want to buy on the social networks, it sure makes sense to shop there.

Here’s our comment on Tom’s post….

Hey Tom!

Thanks for the post.

Totally agree with your premise that the social networks are not a place for the hard sell – or selling an old jalopy at a kid’s birthday!?!?

To use your analogy, though, I’d argue that social media is indeed much more like a shopping mall than a playground.

People go to malls for much more than the direct sale experience. They go to gather and wander and explore. They go to see what everyone else is wearing and buying. They go to contrast and compare. They go to interact with brands, products and people.

All of this, in my mind, proves the value of social networks in driving commerce.
Read more at http://www.business2community.com/social-media/social-media-marketing-for-commerce-or-community-0224026#vH3b8ffAti3Guc4U.99

Looks like the pundits have written the epitaph a bit too soon.

Have you seen the NEW Digg?

Here it is…

 

Very different huh? Cool looking, but certainly different.

Remember the OLD Digg?

Here…

In case you haven’t heard, John Borthwick and the team at Betaworks are now the proud owners of Digg, which has a goal of trying to bring you ‘the most interesting and talked about stories on the Internet right now.’  Pretty much the same mission Kevin Rose had when he launched the site back in 2004.

This new version was built from scratch in just SIX WEEKS. If you want to read a bit more about that … here

What do you think? Do you Digg it?!?! (sorry, couldn’t resist!)

 

 

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