Thursday, October 11, 2012

Gartner – Secret to Social Commerce Success: Infomercials

Who is the poster child for social commerce; the business that best represents the synergy of sharing and selling?
Ask authoritative business analysts Gartner and the answer may surprise you. Not a Valley startup, but a dinosaur from the 1980s – direct response TV home shopping channels – QVC and Home Shopping Network.  Huh?  Gartner’s logic is that these informercial channels understood how to turn broadcast media into sales media with three simple steps;

  1. Keep it simple and sell one thing at a time; focus on selling something that addresses a common need (and demos well), typically something that makes people look or feel better (smarter, prettier, slimmer, healthier)
  2. Sell conversationally using celebrity; not a mega-star but a minor celebrity with whom people can identify (what psychologists call ‘differential identification’ – not a remote Hollywood star) and sell with a sidekick – playing the role of their/your neighbour with whom are shared shareable reasons to recommend (including a must-have deal)
  3. Use social proof/social validation (it worked for me/my children)
It’s a simple tried and tested formula, and according to Allen Weiner from Garnter, social commerce businesses would do well to take inspiration from this direct response TV formula.  ”It’s social, but not as we know it Jim” – it’s about people recommending to people in an informercial, using social proof and social status.  We like it.
Gartner’s recommendations fit like a glove with recommendations from The Social Commerce Handbook: 20 Secrets for Turning Social Media into Social Sales (Simplicity, Celebrity + Social Proof), but we didn’t make the connection with direct response / Home Shopping TV. It’s a smart connection.  YouTube and Facebook as infomercial channels anyone?
So we hereby coin a new term; is the future of social commerce the social infomercial?

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