Flash sales is a hot topic we cover routinely here at Social Commerce Today. Recently, Shop.org interviewed Doug Mack, CEO of One Kings Lane, a flash sales site that sells home decor, about the influence of social commerce. Here are the highlights of that interview that pertain particularly to social commerce.
Interest Graph is Social Commerce Future Trend
In regard to future trends, Mack joined the chorus of those that suggest the “interest graph” is the direction where things are heading.
“Some exciting developments in social media are new ‘interest’ focused communities such as Pinterest and Houzz. While Facebook does a great job at addressing the social graph, these emerging sites are addressing interest by providing environments for enthusiasts to spend time sharing what they love across a wide range of categories and interests, including design and home décor.”
I concur that interest graphs (also called “taste graphs”) hold a key to the future of social commerce. You may recall that, in the recent Social Commerce Today post – Social Commerce Future About Portable “Taste Graphs” and “Emo-links” - we predicted that the rise of the interest graph will lead the way to a new generation of social commerce characterized by “dynamic demand-led group-buy around people’s passion points.” to quote the post.
Aside from a concentration on interest graphs as a future trend, Mack stated that mobile and tablet-based commerce, along with social media and flash sales will continue to be relevant to consumers.
Specifically, where social commerce is concerned, Mack said, “Social will be embedded in all e-commerce experiences” and – so sites that offer an exceptional consumer proposition will benefit from it while those that are undifferentiated will suffer.”
Flash Sales Require Innovation
It’s commonly accepted that the flash sales model means customers get great products at better prices, says Mack. However, he indicated that innovation is the key to growth, citing his own company, One Kings Lane, as an example.
“[We] were the first company to offer the Flash Sales model in the home market when we launched in 2009. We then followed up by evolving from a pure flash sales model when we launched the Tastemaker Tag Sales series, where we work with well-known designers and influencers to bring curated sales of one-of-a-kind and vintage items to One Kings Lane. Today, we also shop around the world to bring unique, exceptional items that are hand-selected and deliver tremendous value for our customers.”
Multiple times throughout the course of the interview Mack used the term “innovation” as a key indicator for success:
- “…innovation is critical for the continued growth of companies in the flash sale space.”
- “I think we might still be in the first inning of all the innovation we have planned in the years ahead.”
- ” All of these companies started with a core innovation, but did not rest on their laurels.” [Mack's statement in regard to companies that inspire him.]
Challenges for Online Retailers
Mack indicated two challenges that online retailers need to consider going forward: customer experience and a reliance on the use of time-tested tools such SEM and email. He said companies need to “push their thinking on how to be more creative in their customer contact strategies.”
If Mack’s comments are any indicator, a focus on social and mobile commerce along with flash sales, is warranted as they provide the “game-changing” innovation that lead to better customer experiences, stronger brand loyalty and improved LTV.