On the back of social commerce conversations at the recent New York TechCrunch Disrupt event, Leena Rao asks over at TechCrunch whether Amazon missed the boat on social commerce.

Leena agrees with Etsy’s Rob Kalin that whilst Amazon regins supreme in commodity commerce, it’s a laggard in social commerce.

On Leena’s social commerce boat you’ll find companies such as Gilt, Vente-Privée, Groupon, Etsy, OpenSky, multiplayer gaming site OMGPOP, and even Ebay with its Fashion Vault flash sales feature – but no Amazon.

Poppycock!  Amazon didn’t miss the social commerce boat, it built it! Amazon has been at the forefront of social commerce, the subset of electronic commerce that involves using social media, online media that supports social interaction and user contributions, to assist in the online buying and selling of products and services, since its very inception.

Ratings and reviews?  Check.  Recommendations and referrals? Check.  Forums and communities? Check. Social Media Optimization? Check (Deal Feeds). Social Ads & Apps? Check (Associate Widgets).

Indeed, when we run social commerce workshops, we warmup with a ‘count the number of social features on Amazon’ game.  We challenge you to find a more social e-commerce site! Here’s a list of social features apparent from a cursory glance at Amazon

  • Ratings and Reviews
  • Discussion Boards
  • Popularity Lists
  • Public Profiles
  • Follow Lists
  • Share to Twitter
  • Amazon Associates Widgets
  • Personal Recommendations
  • Listmania Lists (User Generated Best of..)
  • Gift Registry
  • Wish List
  • Communities
  • RSS feeds

To name but a few.  Sure, Amazon has not been hot on social shopping (shop together features – although its Zappos subsidiary, with MyZappos is doing groundbreaking stuff here), nor has it integrated fully with Facebook, and the company has only flirted with flash sales whether of the national (Woot/Gilt) or local (Groupon) variety.

Whilst f-commerce and flash sale sites with their member-get-member referral programs are hot right now, there’s more to social commerce than f-commerce and flash sales. If you’re looking to deploy social commerce, you could do far worse than learn from the company that built the social commerce boat.