Sunday, September 2, 2012

The New Rules of Social Commerce

Accenture’s Chief Technology Innovation Officer, Gavin Michael, has just published “The New Rules of Social Commerce” in Fortune Magazine.
Accenture believes that Facebook’s decision to drop Facebook Credits and switch to local currency payments will kickstart a new wave of social commerce – financial transactions taking place on social sites.
Whilst this new wave of social commerce will allow businesses to seamlessly monetize the low hanging fruit of shoppers on social sites who are ready to buy, the big win will be that it will bring businesses closer to its customers – allowing them to listen, adapt and profit from customer word of mouth.
So for Accenture, like many of the other big business consultancies, the value of social commerce lies in word of mouth – both as feedback from customers – and recommendations from customers to customers.
Accenture advocate using social media to listen and learn [rather than talk and promote], using customer conversations in social media to inform decisions on what you sell and how you sell.  Beyond this, your goal should to use social media be to “compress the sales cycle” – the awareness-purchase-recommendation loop, creating easier and faster trips down the marketing funnel.  The key is to make it fun.
At a strategic level the key to social commerce success is identifying the role of social media at each stage of the marketing/sales funnel and understand where it intersects with e-commerce and physical environments.
The New Rules of Social Commerce
For large organisations, Accenture advocate the following 10 step plan that should come from the top…
  1. Introduce a clear top-down stance that defines the priority of social initiatives.
  2. Launch a “consumer interaction” inventory to capture how consumers interact with your organization.
  3. Survey your company to understand how it uses social and compare this with best practices.
  4. Identify and assess tools and players in the social space.
  5. Study the best practices of social’s early adopters.
  6. Prepare for “social listening.” Figure out what conversations your consumers are already having about your company (and where). Start participating in those conversations (no selling allowed!).
  7. Create better experiences for consumers by utilizing new social channels in combination with existing digital and physical commerce channels.
  8. Identify, foster, and support advocates among your consumers.
  9. Identify meaningful metrics for tracking social’s success.
  10. Enable closer relationships between Marketing and Technology functions.

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