Useful post over at UTalk Marketing on social commerce trends to watch, curated by Caroline Perry and with input from (Tribal) DDB UK, OMD, PHD, MePlease, Starfish 360, Steak Media, and wrapped up by PSFK. The article is a teaser for the upcoming Marketing Innovation Expo (London, April 7). See the post, the post on the post, or catch the short version here;

  1. Social commerce, the missing link between the convenience, easy access and deals of e-commerce, and the inherently social experience of real life shoppin in online retail, is reaching maturity.
    • Allan Blair (DDB)  “For years, online retail has focused on allowing consumers easy access to hard to find products, or cheap deals on mass produced items.  However, the marketplace is now saturated with identikit web stores offering the same products for the same price. Smart brands have realised that they need to differentiate themselves by offering their consumers something additional to attract them to their offering.”
  2. Facebook will have a major role to to play in the development of social commerce (including the virtual/digital goods market).
    • Steve Jarrett, (MePlease) explains: “Facebook is clearly the one to watch here. The extent to which it knows who you are and who your friends are will dramatically improve the relevancy of recommendations over time.”
  3. Brands and retailers who simply use social media as an additional e-commerce channel, without offering social (shareable) value, will stumble and fail. Successful social commerce starts with delivering customer value using social technology – not with sales
    • Tim Pritchard (OMD) “With all the current noise around social commerce, many businesses are jumping right in without fully understanding what the true ‘social commerce’ or ‘social shopping’ possibilities actually are…It’s important to distinguish the difference between selling products through a shop that is on Facebook, and selling products through a Facebook shop that allows its users to seek comments/feedback even approval from friends before purchase.”
    • Nick Ellsom (PHD) “Successful social commerce always delivers one thing and that is value back to the consumer. The value being delivered comes in many forms, but it must always be present. In exchange, some consumers will recommend you to their social communities and this is about as power form of marketing as possible.”
  4. Social commerce is a component of your CRM program, not a sales channel.
    • Allan Blair (DDB) “[THe ASOS] CRM strategy encourages customers to purchase items, share what they have bought, share photos of them wearing it;  it has recently opened up a Facebook store that allows customers to browse, buy and share without even leaving the social network.”
  5. Social commerce is as much about deploying social technology in-store as it is in web-stores or Facebook.
    • Rufus Evison (Starfish 360) “Whether you are talking about people putting QR codes on their receipts to take you to a review page or about something that allows you to ask your friends, through Facebook or Twitter, about a purchase before you make it, this seems likely to become a trend as it is already firmly established behaviour amongst customers.”
  6. We will see the emergence of the “social shopping cart” – a cart connected to your social graph, and a store personalised based on likes and recommendations
    • John Barton (Steak Media) “Facebook Connect is key trend. Levi’s was one of the first to take advantage of this, putting a “like” button against various jeans.  Allowing consumers to search for products by popularity, using crowd-sourcing to show what’s relevant and drive sales through target audience activity.”
    • Nick Ellsom (PHD) “As consumers we love to feel in control of the products and services we buy. We despise the thought of faceless corporations and giant brands dictating what we spend out money on. Social commerce has allowed this to become a reality and the smart retailers are latching on to the possibilities this throws up.”
  7. We will see the emergence of social loyalty programs, where customers are rewarded for sharing their data with retailers, and are rewarded for social (inter)actions with friends.  ’Rewards for social actions’ will drive this trend
    • Mark Batty (Boden) “The social loyalty and shopping platform from BeAddictive will also increase brand loyalty with a powerful system rewarding our members with points which can be redeemed against products or services they purchase, which itself increases loyalty.”
    • John Barton (Steak Media) “Rewards drive business; it builds brands through word of mouth; people send it to friends/family and colleagues – this is a perfect arena to tap into – social circles are all about sharing and it drives traffic.  It’s the core essence of what social advertising is about – and why referrals and advocacy is important.”
  8. The Euro became the Single Currency for Europe, Facebook Credits is set to become the single currency for the social Web. Follow closely.