Global media and marketing services company, Mindshare, part of the WPP Group along with Syzygy has just published a new 44 page report on the future of social commerce.  It’s a nice distillation of much of the thinking here in Social Commerce Today and picks up on the central themes of our new book just published The Social Commerce Handbook that the future of social commerce is social utility – and the power of theinterest graph‘ 

Here’s the speed summary of what MindShare has to say

  • The future of social commerce will take place outside of social networks
    • Social commerce in social networks works for boutique brands and businesses, gaming and digital media, but for large brands and retailers – in-network transactions will be mainly a branding play (creating choice-shaping associations in the mind of the audience) not driving revenue
    • Transactions on Facebook itself are ‘unlikely to become a huge opportunity’ (Facebook is primarily for socialising, retailers put off by early attempts (poor user experience, user security concerns)
  • But there is a problem with the standard alternative to adding e-commerce features to social sites; adding social [graph] features to e-commerce sites
    • Not enough social signalling (likes, tweets, wants etc) to be meaningful within someone’s social network (“3 of your friends like this”)
    • Only social services that offer genuine ‘social utility’ (helping people solve problems using social technology) will thrive
      • Accessing friends recommendations at point-of-sale
      • Validating a purchase
      • Self-affirmation
  • The big opportunity is to move away from the ‘social graph’ (networks of personal connections) to the ‘interest graph’ (networks of strangers who share interests)
    • Explicit links to best products (via Twitter, Pinterest, blogs etc)
    • Content curation for specific ‘interest graph’ network
    • Focus social on new customer acquisition – using existing customers and experts to drive trial and adoption
      • Use scarcity and exclusivity mechanics to get fans to create desire with earned media amongst non-customers
      • Set up social referral programmes where customers become affiliates & can be used to acquire new customers
      • Leverage social curation by making “Earned Media” shoppable
      • Leverage Interest Graph data for paid media and increase conversion rate by scaling up audiences using interest-data