You can tell the holiday season is approaching; e-commerce giants are launching new social commerce solutions almost daily in an effort to attract seasonal shoppers. LinkedIn has even joined the social commerce party with LinkedIn Company Pages featuring user recommendations – but more on that in a separate post.
First up is the European leader in private flash sales – Vente Privée ($610m sales 2009), launching RoseDeal Village, it’s own take on Groupon. Like Ideeli’s IdeelAccess in the US, members can purchase vouchers for half their face value to spend at national retail chains – the first of which (in France) is Go-Sport (French version of Sports Authority) – with garage chain Speedy joining the party tomorrow. For this first Go-Sport deal, members are restricted to buying only one voucher €50 (pay €25) per order.
Recent Gap and BodyShop Groupon promotions notwithstanding, we expect upscale retailers will be more attracted to driving footfall with these members-only flash sale sites rather than local group-buy deal-of-the-day sites. Site design is attractive, communicating exclusivity, and offering plenty of luxury cues that will assuage concerns about such deals eroding brand value. In fact, it’s probably the only time a retailer such as Go-Sport will sit alongside Stella McCartney lingerie and Le Tanneur maroquinerie – other flash sales currently listed on Vente-Privée.
In sum, we think this is a smart move from Vente-Privée, and an attractive proposition for national retail brands looking to drive footfall.
Next up is Ebay, which is launching GroupGifts, a Facebook open-graph powered group gifting service that helps users to club together and buy a gift (video and screenshots below). Login to eBay with Facebook and create GroupGift project, get personalized recommendations from eBay listings if the recipient is a Facebook connection, and invite Facebook friends to participate (you can also send out notifications via Twitter). It’s essentially the same integration of Facebook recently made by Amazon, but with the added ability to purchase collectively.Group-buy participants can of course pay their contribution by PayPal, an eBay company.
Whilst GroupGifts may take some of the hassle of organizing a group gift, we’re not convinced many people will be buying gifts together on eBay – there’s too much uncertainty involved – when will it arrive, will it arrive, will it be in good condition etc? However, at the very least GroupGifts is a good PR initiative for eBay, a timely reminder that eBay is a rich Aladdin’s Cave for holiday season shopping.
And finally, Amazon is further deepening its relationship Facebook with a new Amazon Gift Card feature that allows people to buy Amazon gift cards/vouchers and post them directly to their friends Facebook wall on a specific date. It’s not a huge innovation – but we like it; Facebook gifting is a more social way to receive a gift certificate than by post or email. Facebook-gifting makes e-gifting social.