What are the opportunities in social commerce – the integration of e-commerce and social media – for 2013? Beyond the straightforward addition of social features to e-commerce sites, and e-commerce features to social sites, a look back at notable social commerce events in 2012 (below) reveals six trends and opportunities for 2013.
Which horse would you back – or do you have a different horse?
- Social commerce services as Discovery Engines (contra- search engines) helping people discover new products (e.g. Pinterest, Payvment, Fab) – is there an opportunity in 2013 for a Google-style Discovery Engine?
- Shoppable Videos; with YouTube’s new shoppable video service – there’s an opportunity for new generation of video seeding services that link video content to stores
- Social Sampling; with Unilever, Kellogg’s and other giants running free-for-a-social-share product sampling on social sites and in-store, is there an opportunity for a turnkey social sampling service – a creative spin on GlossyBox/Birchbox perhaps?
- Group Buying re-imagined; Groupon didn’t crack it – is there an opportunity to go back to Tuangou roots of group-buying, for a demand-led group buying service?
- Social POS – traditional retailers are enhancing the retail experience with retail apps with social features (augmented reality reviews, ratings, recommendations)
- Social Commerce as direct response Event Marketing – social media is a word of mouth environment and people talk about events; opportunity for a new generation of e-commerce enabled event marketing service
List of Notable Social Commerce Events in 2012
- Cereal brand, Kellogg’s opens a pop-up Tweet store in SoHo London, where customers pay for samples with a tweet
- Scandinavian chocolatier Anthon Berg opens a pop-up social sampling store in Copenhagen – free chocolate if you make a public promise on Facebook to do a good deed
- Social sampling subscription service, Glossybox (a clone of Birchbox) in receipt of $72m funding
- Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce giant leads a $100 million investment in social pinboarding/e-commerce traffic generator Pinterest
- Unilever opens a pop-up social sampling store on Facebook to launch its new Axe/Lynx deodorant for women
- Amazon launches ‘Pages’ allowing brands and retailers a branded storefront on Amazon, integrated with social networks
- Fashion retailer TopShop uses Facebook to stream shoppable Fashion shows
- Facebook buys photosharing app Instagram for $1bn
- Biopic movie, Marley is released simultaneously in theatres and on Facebook (PPV)
- Hertz uses Facebook for social couponing – the more a discount coupon is shared the higher its value
- Ebay opens a pop-up ‘virtual store’ in London’s West End, with a ‘live’ virtual product shelf displaying the most popular gifts at that moment
- Pinterest for the posh, the PPR backed The Fancy, gets a further $26m investment
- Fashion magazine Elle, launches shoppable Trend Reports on Facebook and Pinterest
- Sports brand Nike launches a Facebook shopping app that allows people to pay with Nike points earned through exercise
- Fashion retailer Juicy Couture becomes an early adopter of YouTube’s shoppable videos
- Facebook launches e-commerce service, Facebook Gifts, allowing users to buys and send physical gifts to each other
- Facebook allows gambling apps
- IBM provides a blow to social media as effective in driving e-commerce – on Black Friday, less than 1% of referral traffic (0.69%) came from Facebook (ads, pages, apps) – and none from Twitter.
- Google buys Facebook page and app manager Wildfire for $350m (rivals Buddy Media went to Salesforce for $689m, and Vitrue and Involver to Oracle for $300m and undisclosed respectively)
- Coke and South African iced tea brand BOS launch social vending machines; the BOS machine offers free samples for a tweet
- Justin Timberlake joins the curated commerce trend, launching HomeMint, celebrity-curated interior design picks