“Ecommerce is over – Long live social commerce”  Wired magazine 2011 A recent study by Revoo research showed that the purchase cycl...

Social Scriptures 2012 Part 4: Be Commercial


“Ecommerce is over – Long live social commerce”  Wired magazine 2011

A recent study by Revoo research showed that the purchase cycle is speeding up – they proved that the purchase of a £200 electrical item now takes several days not weeks or months. Interestingly they do not point towards this being due to a change in the consumer’s decision making process (the principles of ‘Identification’, ‘Intent’, ‘Decision’ and ‘Purchase’ still apply) it is just that the way this is done has changed beyond all recognition and this is all down to the “the power of crowds” with the key being to inject trust on every step of the new social purchase journey.

Social is all over this – according to eMarketer the average consumer now spend 6 mins on average on a brand page compared to 14 mins on review sites and conversion rates are up 177% when consumers engage with social content including product / service ratings and reviews, curated customer q&a, brand forums and social networks. Indeed it is not surprising that according to Cisco
social is becoming “the fourth retail channel” after mail order, instore and traditional online – you only have to look at the success of Groupon and Living Social to see evidence of this.

Due to the variety of access points for social, or rather, “S commerce” it covers a variety of areas including mobile, Social Networks and more traditional e-commerce – the point is that all are driven by social media.
From January 2011 when ASOS became the first UK retailer to open a fully transactional Facebook store, brands including Hilton, JD Sports and Max Factor soon followed suit using Facebook for two reasons: to reach their best group of consumers by going where their brand advocates are congregating; and due to the potential for these consumers to share information, effectively marketing the brand to their friends.
Of course ‘F-commerce’ should be viewed as part of the overall commercial mix and not simply a replica of an e-commerce experience, nor should it cannibalise sales from the brand’s website. Facebook can be a great place to trial exclusive or new products (as Magners is doing – though not sure if people will buy cider online), as long as the brand is prepared to listen to feedback and act on it – after all for all the positives of sharing there is also the danger of criticism. The challenge for brands is to offer consumers something that is tailored to and integrated into the Facebook experience.
Mobile is another area that is driving S Commerce (or rather ‘M-commerce’ in this case) - 2011 was the year that the technological developments in Near Field Communication (NFC) and mobile wallets such as The Square and Dwolla (which is taking more than $1m per day in less than 1 year) as well as the rise in check-ins and integration of purchase drivers all mean this area is set to grow and grow this year.

So in 2012 a brand needs to go “SoLoMo” – that is consider the full social shopper journey and therein the moments of social truth, this should include your website, your social networks, your brand’s mobile experience, the wider web as well as offline stores. This review should include the call to action to drive purchase from recommendation, sharing and independent reviews and consider before, during and after purchase.


-Website: Ensure that wherever your consumer lands they are clear as to where they can buy – either directly from the site (or a click through to your site from a blogger recommendation or Tweet) or from a Facebook page. If necessary also check compatibility with different platforms – be that mobile or tablet.

- Social recommendation: Include opportunity to read or leave product ratings and reviews wherever possible to add trust and include opportunity to share purchases and recommendations.

- Social media campaigns: Consider integration of commerce into campaigns including specifically app development and ensure the opportunity for Facebook commerce and mobile compatibility are fully explored.

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