Archives for posts with tag: ecommerce

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!

SoLoMo.

Sounds like it could be a title for a remake of a Three Stooges movie.

Social. Local. Mobile. That’s what it really stands for. It’s what all the experts – yes, the ever-present ‘they’ – say is the most important consideration for any business that wants to survive in the 2.0 world and beyond.

Obviously, we’re placing some big bets on SOCIAL (I guess our name might give it away, right?).

But here’s the thing with Social…there’s a lot of noise in here. We’re always hearing about how hard it is to break through the noise and clutter of the social network landscape. It’s why there are so many social media curation tools and services available. People need a way to find stuff that’s relevant and interesting to them. They don’t want to deal with all the clutter.

Social Commerce is HARD!

That’s where the Lo and the Mo come in.

Let’s take LOCAL first. By being local, there’s more chance that it will be relevant to you. Knowing that there’s a great Sale on at The Gap is good to know – but not if it’s only at The Gap on the East Coast and you’re on the West Coast. BUT, to find out about a shop in your local neighbourhood that is offering a discount or a special deal or even just something that’s really good value – that just may be relevant to you.

Now, for the real kicker – the Mo. MOBILE. It goes with you. (once again, the name kinda gives it away!?!) Wallet, Phone, Keys. That’s the mental checklist we all go through every time we leave the house, right? It won’t be long before that list is reduced to one…MOBILE. Your mobile device will be your Wallet and your Keys too. But that’s a little way in the future (though really, not too far away!). Still, even today, our mobile devices are with us pretty much all the time. Certainly, they’re with us when we shop.

So, when we talk about social commerce we really need to consider mobile too.

According to the International Telecommunications Union, Global Mobile Phone Penetration now sits at 87%. Mobile subscriptions have grown by over 500,000 each year for the past 3 years. In many countries, the penetration rate is well over 100% – USA (104%) ; Russia (153%) ; UK (123%). That means in all these countries everyone has more than one mobile phone.

Crazy, huh? It gets better…

In the United Arab Emirates, mobile penetration stands at 233%! That’s over 2.3 phones per person!

Now try telling me the future is not MOBILE!

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?

“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!!

 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.

 

 

According to a recent study released by Gartner, 74% of consumers rely on social networks to guide their purchasing decisions.

This is what Social Commerce is all about – leveraging the social networks to drive your sales.

This is great news for small businesses. Why? Well, because unlike many of the more traditional marketing tools, social networks are available and accessible to all – big and small alike.

To help small businesses leverage the social graph of their customers, SocialShout! has just launched the first ever Social Coupon Tool. How does it work? Simple. Merchants install a banner on their site which allows their customers to generate a coupon code that can be used with their purchase. When a customer claims their coupon code, a Shout! is automatically posted to their social graph, thus generating real word of mouth for the merchant on the social networks.

True to our word in trying to help small businesses grow, SocialShout! has a number of pricing plans based on how many transactions they actually generate. We even have a basic FOREVER FREE plan for smaller merchants with less than 50 sales per month.

businesses, Word of Mouth is still (and will always be) the best form of promotion for any business.

To compliment the Social Coupon Tool, our main site also allows merchants to create their own Leaderboard to find your most active and connected customers and even upload your products into our store to share your offering with our entire community.

Want to join the social commerce revolution? Visit www.socialshout.com and get started.

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