More from Allurent‘s CTO Fumi Matsumoto in the Ecommerce Times on social commerce in 2010, offering 7 reasons to do social commerce, and 7 tips for doing it right (Allurent software powers Reebok’s and Charlotte Russe’s foray into social commerce, (nb. Allurent defines social commerce narrowly as extending online shopping beyond e-commerce sites to social destinations – what we call the ‘putting tills next to watercoolers’ strategy)).

7 Reasons to do Social Commerce

  1. That’s where your customers are increasingly spending time
  2. Shopping is already often a social activity – people will want to shop online the same way
  3. Peer validation, which is important for many shoppers, is built into social commerce
  4. Product discovery is more fun and conducive to impulse purchases when in a social context
  5. If you don’t have presence on social media, your competitors will grab the social brand mind-share
  6. Social will be the more cost-effective way to capture traffic and market reach
  7. Social media gives you the ability to mine data and obtain market intelligence more effectively

7 Tips for doing Social Commerce right

  1. Start simple, learn, and iterate around what works. If you have social features already on your website, extend these into social destinations (reviews, registries, group-buying)
  2. Do not overinvest in risky projects too early – rather than plan a big one-shot project, work on small-effort projects
  3. Get the basics right – such as analytics instrumentation — so that each project can be measured and used in planning for the next.
  4. Take advantage of proven solutions that allow you to experiment easily with little time or investment.
  5. Don’t make your solutions dependent on downloading or installing applications or widgets, it’s a huge barrier to take-up
  6. It’s critical to give loyal and new customers a reason to shop in social media – through exclusive promotions or novel experiences/tools (special pricing, limited-availability products, early access to products, room configurators, outfit shopping widgets
  7. Follow the golden rule of the social media – listen closely and respond quickly

Finally, the article reiterates Allurent’s more general 3 step solution for how retailers can benefit from social media.

  1. Establish social media presence (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Company Blog)
  2. Create affiliate partnerships with social media sites (social shopping portals (Kaboodle, Polyvore), third party expert/review blogs, and forums)
  3. Implement social commerce – establishing storefronts where you have a social media presence

Allurent believe that whilst 2009 may have been the year of social media for retailers (64% investing in social media (Forrester), 54% with a Facebook presence (Internet Retailer)), most of the activity has been restricted to interactive marketing (straightforward presence in blogs, or other third-party social media such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube).  Now, they argue, is a great time to start laying out the road map for social commerce – to keep up with — and even surpass competitors.  Allurent believe that 2010 will be the year of social commerce experimentation, with heavy experimention by early adopters.  They see mainstream adoption occurring in 2011.