Shiny things I find from across the web

Archive for the category “Facebook Pages”

It’s only social commerce when the retailer replies

For a while in the early 2000s, we thought that we could take the element of human interaction out of the purchase process. E-commerce platforms were built as great online emporiums where customers could effectively serve themselves without ever having to speak to a company employee. It seemed like a great model: after all, the best kind of business is one where you wake up in the morning and ask your accountant how much money you made while you were sleeping.

Of course, there have always been a few exceptions to the lonely web emporium rule – sites like eBay and Amazon have always been slightly social, and buyer-seller interactions are encouraged through mechanisms like leaving feedback, reviews and forms where users can “ask the seller”. On these sites, the social element of shopping was built in before we ever coined the term “social media.”

Social Shopping recommendations

In recent years, and in tandem with the evolution of social media, we have seen a complete overhaul of the lonesome online shopper model; from sites like Threadless which invites users to create their own products for other users to buy, to Shopstyle and ASOS, which invite you to curate and share your favourite collections, and a new emerging breed of born-social sites which includes the likes of Kaboodle which goes one further and learns from your reviews and interactions, linking you up with likeminded shoppers in a trend which has become known as “discovery shopping.” The potential for retailers to cross and up-sell to users by adding bringing peers into the equation is clearly enormous. Even sites which haven’t gone so far in creating a truly social shopping experience usually at least offer social sharing buttons, allowing shoppers to share their wishlists or purchases with their friends on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

But we have eschewed the issue somewhat – most of these sites increase interaction between shoppers, or between shoppers and their social network, but very few of them actually allow users to have a dialogue with the retailer itself, which is why F-commerce is uniquely fascinating. Facebook commerce is effectively putting online shopping inside your online community, wrapping up the ability to purchase products with the option to interact with other customers or indeed a company representative, in real time.

Your friends might be able to tell you whether those mink coloured harem pants will suit you, but only the retailer itself can tell you if they will be delivered in time for your Christmas party, or give you the bust measurement of that little sexy black dress you’re dying to squeeze into. Providing shoppers with this information in real time, while their shopping cart is still full, and the smooth plastic of their credit card warm in their pocket, is where retailers can really use social to make a difference to their bottom line. But of course, how companies will manage to adapt to putting their staff back into the consumer dialogue at their online checkouts is another question entirely.

Do you think that retailers should be involved in the social shopping dialogue, or should their focus be on providing great products and facilitating conversation between consumers? Let me know in the comments!


What can marketers learn from a badly stuffed animal?

When you work in social media, you can sometimes get carried away with strategy, research and planning. You think about the rules and the etiquette of each platform, how to drive incremental ROI, push traffic towards ecommerce sites, how to engage users through branded content and spend time training staff on the correct implementation of a social strategy. Campaign deliverables are agreed and verified, messaging is sense checked, a go-live date is established… but at the end of the day, social media is random.

The “rules” which apply elsewhere somehow go out of the window if you manage to stumble upon one great, shareable, hilarious theme which shapes your content. The go-to reference here is Lolcats. Or @Shitmydadsays. When I stumble upon golddust like this glorious Facebook page dedicated to Badly Stuffed Animals it reaffirms the fact that social media is really about people coming together to share experiences with each other, and brands which help to facilitate that are the ones who will really win in social media.

On the same note, I am a massive fan of the bizarre and wonderful efforts of Skittles, particularly on Facebook.

Kookai Fears Facebook

When it comes to social media, it seems like some brands take to it like ducks to water (Starbucks, Dell, Ford), and others, despite their best efforts, just can’t relinquish enough control to make it work for them. French fashion label Kookai unfortunately falls into the latter group. Last week, the following post appeared on the brand’s French-language Facebook page:

It's clear that Kookai just can't get their head around social media

For those of you who are not dedicated francophiles, roughly translated, it reads:

“Dear Customers,
This Facebook page is designed to inform fans of the brand of special offers, new collections, games, contests, sharing our favourite pieces …. We’d like to thank everyone in advance for respecting this page and its primary purpose. For all other enquiries or comments, please send a letter to the KOOKAÏ head office.”

Not only does this expose Kookai as social media Luddites, but it says a lot about how the company feel towards their customers. When you create a Facebook page – or arguably any kind of branded social media presence, you invite discussion and contributions from your fans. The brand should only ever be the facilitator, not a tyrannous ruler of its digital kingdom. One way or another, Kookai has to learn that social media is a two-way conversation, and by trying to redirect customer questions and queries to the brand’s head office they are effectively trying to shut off customer conversation, which could (in extreme circumstances) result in a backlash not dissimilar to Nestle’s thorny Facebook experience last year. It does make the user wonder, what is Kookai so scared about?

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