Useful post over at Web-Strategist by Jeremiah Owyang offering a walk-through of Levi’s deployment of Facebook social plugins to enable social shopping and benefit from word of mouth marketing on their e-commerce site – at minimum cost.

The post comes on the back of an earlier post in which Jeremiah summarized the Facebook’s bid to become the social glue that binds the web together – noting that the innovations (see summary table below) are;

1. A precursor to true sCRM (social CRM)

2. A solution for adding social features to corporate websites – social without tears

3. A challenge to Google

Jeremiah does outline the potential downsides and risks of integrating Facebook social shopping tools (see table below), something that has been echoed by DecisionStep. But in this latest post, Jeremiah appears genuinely impressed with how Levi’s has deployed the technology, suggesting it may give us a glimpse of the shape of things to come;

In the future, the difference between social networks and corporate websites will be hard to distinguish.

In terms of Levi’s deployment of Facebook social shopping, Jeremiah notes four components;

  • Awareness: Levi’s homepage indicates that it now has Facebook integration
  • Education: Video introducing how users can use ‘social gestures’ (the Facebook ‘Like Button’ plugin) on the site to indicate products they like
  • Social Gestures: On product pages, the Facebook Like Button appears next to the product and Levi’s viewers to be the “First of your friends” to like it.
  • Social Commerce:  Using the aggregated Facebook data, Levi’s creates a personalized Friend Store based on what your friends like and have suggested you’ll like, hoping to increase up-sell.

Jeremiah notes Levi’s social shopping allows vendors to mimic the peer pressure for purchase that goes on with in-store shopping with friends, the Facebook Like plugin allows users to shop with friends (without having to login to the site) – even if they are not present in space (or in time).  Ratings and reviews from random people may be good but friendsourced endorsements are better.

Jeremiah also suggests that the new Levi’s social shopping model could be useful beyond e-commerce; in-store with a mobile barcode reader, and for the potential of celebrity social gestures (‘likes’) to be hugely influential.  A significant opportunity, he argues, is to integrate Facebook social plugins into sCRM (social CRM) systems to enable more compelling personalized up-sell cross-sell recommendations – but cautions social vendors (e.g. Bazaarvoice, Pluck, Kickapps) to think though privacy issues, especially when their is no login wall.  Finally, he notes that the really big opportunity is to use social gestures to manage inventory and as a source of consumer insight.

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Facebook Social Colonization Matrix – by Jeremiah Owyang

Source: http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2010/04/21/facebooks-crusade-of-colonization/

Announcement What it is Opportunities Threats What no one tells you
Graph API An open protocol that’s designed to aggregate all social activities from your friend back to Facebook This makes Facebook a social inbox, regardless of the service: Pandora, Yelp, your corporate site Email providers like Gmail/Buzz, Microsoft Windows Live, Yahoo, and AOL all want to be those destinations, now competing with 500mm users in FB Facebook wants to be the starting point for your world –the new email inbox. If they turn on advanced search tools, this can threaten google.com
Social Plugins: “Like” button Allows website managers to quickly embed ‘like’ feature on website, like other social features. This will aggregate on FB, and is a form of social bookmarks As users go to websites (Like CNN) they can see which one of their real friends like which article Now your friends are the editors, threatening traditional editorial process. Threat to social bookmarking tools like Delicious All this social aggregated content will yield a powerful database of what you and your friends like, the precursor to customized web experiences and social advertising
Social Plugins: “Social Bar” A floating bar at the bottom of a webpage embedded by simple code allows for EVERY page to be quickly social. Everywhere you go online your friends can be with you, forever connected Google Side Wiki,Meebo, and Liveworld’s Livebar (unless they both integrate Facebook FB API). Now as every page can be social, there is no reason for consumers to make buying mistakes –their friends opinions are always there, diminishing power of marketers
Docs.com A partnership with Microsoft that allows Microsoft office docs to now be social with your Facebook friend This can extend collaboration with your friends to the office environment Unsure if this use case makes sense, are your friends those you want to collaborate with? This is a direct threat to Google Docs Facebook and Microsoft are in bed, to team up against Google. Expect advertising based on social context to appear soon
“Presence” Location based data Facebook handed out in every attendees page an RFID tag that allows you to swipe it at kiosks to indicate your locations Although experimental expect this to extend to location base applications, eventually tying into credit cards, and mobile devices Location based social networks like Yelp, Gowalla, MyTown, Foursquare and Twitter already allow people to do this –the difference?  Add these chips to physical objects Expect this technology to extend to mobile phones, credit cards, and future consumer products –allowing for unique social interactions.