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Yesterday, Digitas (Publicis agency) publishedTogether We Buy: The Social Commerce Strategy Playbook” (embedded below) that includes a stab at categorising the various forms of social commerce, authored by Jon Burg, Senior Social Engineer and Beth McCabe, VP, Social Marketing & Technology.

Here’s a speed summary of what Digitas has to say on the subject of social commerce:

  • What is Social Commerce? Social commerce is the practice of driving sales or revenue-generating transactions by leveraging the social media dynamic
  • What is the Value of Social Commerce? Cost-effective customer acquisition – harnessing the referral value of satisfied customers (“satisfied consumers cultivate confidence in their peers who are still in the decision-making process”)
  • Why Social Commerce Now? Social media has become mainstream media and technological innovations have made commerce possible with social media
  • Why does Social Commerce matter to marketers? Social marketing and social commerce are intrinsically complementary. Marketing fuels commerce; commerce without marketing is an unsustainable proposition.
    • According to a recent comScore report, nearly one in four Twitter users (there are 15 million active accounts) follow businesses to find special deals, promotions, or sales.
    • A study by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies found that people are 67% more likely to purchase products from brands they follow on Twitter and 51% more likely to do so if they follow a brand on Facebook.
    • 53% of retail transactions involving Facebook directly convert from Facebook to checkout (Efficient Frontier).
  • What does a Social Commerce strategy look like? Social Commerce strategy involves a focus on the occasions made possible by social media for sales or transactions; call it a focus on the “commerce occasion“.  This involves leveraging four qualities of social media (social media equity) all along the path to purchase
    • Relevance (personalised…)
    • Efficiency (…real-time…)
    • Intelligence (…insightful…)
    • Referral (…recommendations)

  • What are key considerations in developing a Social Commerce strategy?
    • Fitting/Integrating with your sales model
    • Delivering user value: What value will social commerce bring to users?
    • Delivering business value: Don’t just run a promotion, earn your customers’ loyalty/advocacy
    • Resourcing – do not over commit – run trials and build on what works
    • Partnering – consider leveraging third party social media, agencies and other partnerships.
    • Building – social expression into your product itself
    • Creating – social experiences not social add-ons
    • Building – relationships with customers through support and conversations, not just selling
  • What are the different social commerce solutions? (ordered by increasing social media integration)
    • Broadcast: broadcast deal accounts on Twitter or dedicated deals tabs on Facebook.
    • Social-Adjacent posted product reviews, recommendations, ratings (deploying social features alongside commercial activity)
    • Distributed: bringing the point of sale to the consumer (on a network, on a banner – e.g. wall stores Delta Ticket Window, 1-800-Flowers
    • Connected: shopping websites allowing shoppers to share three pairs of jeans with friends for their feedback prior to purchase using social plugins (Levi’s Friend’s Store)
    • Content-Driven: fashion community featuring video content, forums and reviews alongside a storefront and social features such as wish lists and reviews).
    • Affiliate-Driven: Amazon style affiliate program rewarding customers for referrals and recommendations
    • Collaborative: group-buying – marketing-initiated group couponing, planning family trips, bridal showers, office gifts, group purchases for children’s sports teams.
    • Peer-Driven: social marketplaces facilitating P2P commerce – auction sites such as eBay, gift cards via email or social networks, user-demand-driven group buying and discounting.

Social Commerce Readiness Checklist

  • Is the corporate culture open to changing in order to meet the expectations of social commerce consumers?
  • What types of brand value do you bring to the social commerce opportunity, and how might it be leveraged?
  • Can your existing technology infrastructure support social commerce?
  • Do you have adequate staff and resources to support a vigorous social commerce initiative?
  • Are you already engaged with your customers in social media communities?
  • Does your brand or company simply sell in social media and online communities, or does it truly play a valuable and contributing role in the ongoing conversation?

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