Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Future of Social Commerce’ [Report] by Mindshare

Here’s the speed summary of what MindShare has to say:

  • The future of social commerce will take place outside of social networks
    • Social commerce in social networks works for boutique brands and businesses, gaming and digital media, but for large brands and retailers – in-network transactions will be mainly a branding play (creating choice-shaping associations in the mind of the audience) not driving revenue
    • Transactions on Facebook itself are ‘unlikely to become a huge opportunity’ (Facebook is primarily for socialising, retailers put off by early attempts (poor user experience, user security concerns)
  • But there is a problem with the standard alternative to adding e-commerce features to social sites; adding social [graph] features to e-commerce sites
    • Not enough social signalling (likes, tweets, wants etc) to be meaningful within someone’s social network (“3 of your friends like this”)
    • Only social services that offer genuine ‘social utility’ (helping people solve problems using social technology) will thrive
      • Accessing friends recommendations at point-of-sale
      • Validating a purchase
      • Self-affirmation
  • The big opportunity is to move away from the ‘social graph’ (networks of personal connections) to the‘interest graph’ (networks of strangers who share interests)
    • Explicit links to best products (via Twitter, Pinterest, blogs etc)
    • Content curation for specific ‘interest graph’ network
    • Focus social on new customer acquisition – using existing customers and experts to drive trial and adoption
      • Use scarcity and exclusivity mechanics to get fans to create desire with earned media amongst non-customers
      • Set up social referral programmes where customers become affiliates & can be used to acquire new customers
      • Leverage social curation by making “Earned Media” shoppable
      • Leverage Interest Graph data for paid media and increase conversion rate by scaling up audiences using interest-data

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