Here’s a whitepaper from Paul Bidder of social commerce platform Colony Commerce that caught our eye – on the potential role of social commerce in a multi-channel world.  In a nutshell, the paper sells the idea of a “single customer view” across channels, offering a unified customer experience – wherever customers choose to shop, powered, in part, by the portable Open Graph.

The paper takes the familiar swipe at channel silos, where customer activity in one channel can go unnoticed in another and where customer experience can vary dramatically between channels (SAS have produced a similar paper on this theme “How to Stop Annoying Your Customers” – video below).  Channel silos create data silos that create experiential silos – and some of those experiential silos suck, precisely because they are silos.  The latest McKinsey Quarterly focuses on how to manage this challenge, integrating “Big Data” – the sea of data we know have on customers – into a coherent whole to inform business decisions and customise the customer experience. The problem is we have too much data and not enough understanding; we need to move from Big Data to Deep Understanding.

Social commerce, according to the paper, could be a stepping stone towards a unifying customer-centricity and customer-understanding where channels – sales and marketing – are built around customers and not vice-versa.  It’s the potential of the portable Open Graph that could make this possible, allowing new channel experiences to adapt to past customer experiences between channels, as customers to shop with their data.

Interestingly, and drawing from some research by Deloitte and Zuberance we covered earlier this week, the paper notes that for this to become reality, businesses will have to look beyond transactional data – and towards overall customer value (purchase + referral value).

Anyhow, here’s the paper (click image to open).