Apple’s social commerce patent applications, social commerce ‘Crunchies’ finalists, mobile as the future of social commerce, a Groupon without coupons, smart f-commerce tips, and a new eMarketer report on social commerce. Here’s a quick roundup of notable social commerce news for the first week of 2011…
  • Apple Targeting Social Networking and Product Sales Predictions in Shopping Environments – two social commerce patent applications from Apple published on the penultimate day of 2010, as reported by Macrumors (see images below)
    • Social Networking in Shopping Environments” an in-store social commerce app that allows customers to use social networking tools on a mobile handset to select items while shopping and solicit opinions on the appropriateness of the articles from friends (and if they choose, from store employees)
    • Systems, Methods, and Computer-Readable Media for Community Review of Items in an Electronic Store” – basically, a super-charged user/expert review plugin for e-commerce sites that improves the reliability and relevance of online reviews using predictive markets – by asking reviewers to predict success of reviewed products – those that predict better get more weight in reviews (smart!)
  • Crunchies’ finalists for social commerce category published (vote here (once a day until Jan 21))
  • Seth Godin on social commerce as one of the 5 critical success factors for a gold standard e-commerce store -
    1. They sell a product you can’t buy at the local store (easily overlooked and critically important)
    2. They understand that online pictures are free (so make them big, and have a gallery – not a single shot)
    3. They use smart copy (but not too much).
    4. They are obsessed with permission (get permission, send fewer but better email promotions)
    5. They aren’t afraid to post reviews. Even critical ones.
  • Wilson Kerr on “Show Me the Money: Mobile and Social Commerce Set to Converge in 2011- predicting trends for 2010, and in defence of Groupon model for retailers
    • After many false dawns, 2011 will be the year of mobile advertising – but ‘it’s mobile advertising, Jim – but not as we know it’: Mobile advertising – and mobile commerce – will grow and Groupon will emerge as a leading mobile advertising platform
      • Group-buy platforms are a hybrid of local advertising and local commerce and deliver incremental, tracked purchases at the beginning of the consumer interaction, generating no risk, pay-for-perfomance, frontside ROI metrics.  This make a mockery of mobile push advertising, impressions and click-throughs, and addresses the Achilles heal of mobile advertising.  ”2011 will be all about the third R, Redemption.  Redemption is mobile commerce“ (quote from Dan Gilmartin).
    • After many false dawns, 2011 will also be the year of social commerce, with Facebook emerging as the leading social commerce platform – used to promote and process deal transactions “The power of social commerce really shines when, for example, mobile (or Facebook commerce tab) purchases driven by special deals offered to Facebook fans can be shared within (and extended to) the buyer’s social graph, after the purchase is made”
    • But it is the fusion of mobile and social commerce – Facebook Deals or Groupon Promotions with transaction completed via mobile handsets –  that will generate synergistic growth for the two trends (look out for how NFC – near field communications get added to the mix).
  • New eMarketer report Social Commerce: Personalized and Collaborative Shopping Experiences: The future of social shopping is…
    • … the social sign-on (going beyond Facebook stores with the portable social graph)
    • …creating personalized shopping experiences
    • …offering collaborative shopping experiences
  • Unilever plays f-commerce catch-up launching Dove Facebook store (emulating P&G strategy of outsourcing fulfilment and logistics to Amazon) (subject of tomorrow’s article)
  • Offermatic muscles into the group-buying bonanza with virtual coupons (getting relevant deals based on credit card transactions)
  • SocialMediaToday (George Guildford) on 5 Ways Retail Brands Can Successfully Integrate Social Media & E-commerce in 2011
    1. Create a unique & fresh Facebook shopping experience but keep it simple (share, like, query, compare, buy)
    2. Interactive Wall Posts (e-commerce enabled posts (posts with a buy button) – Adidas Originals Holiday Countdown
    3. Utilise YouTube & interactive video assets e.g. plinking (product linking – from video content to checkout – video with a buy button) French Connection YouTique YouTube store
    4. #BrandReview: Hashtag reviews through Twitter –  run a competition for customers to submit and share 140-charater mini-reviews of their products via Twitter – prizes for best reviews (interesting variation on PayWithATweet – PayWithAReview?)
    5. Offer exclusive promotions & discounts to reward fans – use Facebook as a next generation CRM platform (sCRM)
Apple’s Social Commerce Patent Applications (from PatentlyApple)
eMarketer Report Data: Social Commerce and the Social Sign-On
Offermatic – Groupon without the Coupon