The emergence of Social shopping demonstrates that the use of digital channels to bring the real world to the digital world is tangible and happening now.
Social shopping gives brands a way to track the consumer journey from communication to online sale. Start-ups such as Groupon, which encourage group purchasing behaviour to be rewarded, are leading the charge. Shopping in the real world is more fun in groups, so why not online?
1. The start-up explosion
Groupon aside (because everybody’s heard of Groupon, right?), here are a few to keep an eye on:
Lockerz is aimed at the 18-30 age group. According to its site, it lets users “earn PTZ® (“Pointz”) by watching videos, listening to music, answering daily questions, and through social commerce. Lockerz PTZ are then used to lower the prices of merchandise at-will.”
2. Location as a shared experience
Checking-in to a venue indicates that a user is happy to be associated with that particular brand or shop. The rewarding of users who regularly visit venues gives brands an opportunity to engage and retain customers. Doing it openly within their own networks is key as it demonstrates a willingness to involve their peers in their experience and share their affinity for a venue.
3. Mobile makes it easy
The continued growth in smartphone ownership means that brands have an opportunity to engage with their customers wherever they are – if this happens in-store whilst they’re with their friends, even better. If you have a serious e-commerce offering, it makes sense to provide a mobile platform to make virtual transactions – whether financial or content-led – simple.
4.Don’t stop at one-off discounts
A tendency to include single discounts for Foursquare mayors can be off-putting to regular customers: if every time I check into a venue, the mayorship is another four days from my grasp, I may as well go somewhere else that will give me that golden crown in no time at all. What I want is for my regular visits to be rewarded and to be encouraged to keep me returning. Consider a Foursquare badge that unlocks after 30 check-ins and rewards me with something cool, and I’ll be more willing to visit and check-in. Also, know that using a Social shopping site can get new customers in the door, but it’s up to the merchant to figure out how to keep those customers coming back.
5. Dare to be different
In Social Commerce Today’s analysis of Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational, they paraphrase a behaviour pattern, saying “consumers will sacrifice personal pleasure for public image – the reverse-herd effect, choosing to be different to be seen as being different, even if they prefer what others are doing.” Thinking like this can help brands to differentiate, especially if they are a small fish in a big pond – think independent t-shirt shop vs. a huge multinational chain – that wants to grab attention. Companies like Threadless were able to do just that because they thought outside the box and conceptualized custom socialized shopping.
In what way are you using or recommending social shopping platforms?
Image Credit: Dirk-Jan Kraan
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