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A couple of new useful and much-tweeted posts for you summarizing the social commerce space.  The first by Lee Odden over at TopRankblog, suggesting that there are two basic flavors of social commerce, and three strategies

  1. Adding social features to e-commerce sites
  2. Adding e-commerce functionality to social sites
  3. Combination of 1 & 2

You can’t get much more succinct than that.  Useful for that elevator pitch.

The second post is from Amalia Agathou over at TheNextWeb listing top social media resources for e-commerce.  In addition to the usual suspects – tools to add a social layer to e-commerce sites, or e-commerce functionality to social sites, Amalia lists social media tools used to support e-commerce, thus casting the social commerce net wider.

As products travel through the social web, the key insight offered is that social commerce turns retail on its head.  Instead of asking how can I get people to find my product, in the world of social commerce you ask, how can I get my products to find people?

  • Tumblr: the microblogging platform particularly popular with fashion brands is being used as a blogging-lite solution to promote stuff for sale (Edun), and build customer communities (IBM). Standard Hotels has added e-commerce functionality to its Tumblog, via Shopify
  • Facebook: the social networking platform is increasingly used to host pop-up stores to support new product launches, with some manufacturers (P&G) experimenting with fully fledged f-stores (using Amazon for logistics).
  • YouTube: the YouTube boutique from French Connection puts video shopping on the social commerce map, adding to product videos supporting sales (Zappos), click-to-buy (“aka plinking”) services from LinkTo.Tv.  Video shopping is in early infancy, but is set to grow with the mainstreaming of IP TV (GoogleTV, AppleTV)
  • Boutiques.com: Google’s new foray into social commerce used by retailers like ModCloth, a discovery engine for fashion that creates and curates a personal “boutique” storefront for users based on their tastes, input from fashion bloggers, retailers and designers. Click on an item in your boutique storefront – and it takes you to the retailer’s checkout.
  • Issuu/Zinio: Document sharing sites are making publications “shoppable” by plinking (product linking) document content to items for sale.  For example retailer LaRedoute uses Issuu to create click and buy catalogues.
  • Polyvore: Digital collaging/scrap-booking site for fashion allows retailers such as Bergdof Goodman to upload clippings of their products for users to discover, discuss and share – and then click through to shop
  • Custom: In addition to adding social layer to e-commerce platforms, retailers have been trialling their own social commerce platforms such as the Asos Marketplace and the soon-to-appear Le Lab by Brand Alley.

In addition to the natty “helping products find customers” proposition, Amalia’s post got us thinking that a useful question to ask yourself is how you are using top social sites to seed products and let them loose on the social web to go find customers.

Depending on your category, your social commerce seeding strategy would cover off these bases…

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Wikipedia
  • Twitter
  • Flickr
  • Slideshare
  • LinkedIn