Monday, April 12, 2010

Filling the Social Commerce Void

With over 70% of shoppers consulting ratings and reviews during the shopping process and 1/3 of consumers following retailers on their social networks, there is no disputing the power of social commerce. Yet few companies are capitalizing on these interactions to the fullest extent.

Most companies treat user generated content as a type of product copy – but these companies are missing a key opportunity. Not only are social contributors and active participants important influencers, but they also spend disproportionately more online than their counterparts and openly share valuable information about their preferences. Yet, few companies are acting on this by rewarding these active participants with targeted responses and marketing tactics.

Like most social contributors, I typically write reviews about products that I am the most passionate about (whether it’s from a positive or negative perspective). I recently wrote a review for a trusty cordless drill that I’ve had for several years. Upon submission of my review, the page wasn’t personalized, nothing changed, and I didn’t even receive a thank you response. What was even more annoying was that my review was never posted. Perplexed, I finally sent a note asking the retailer why they had not posted the review – they replied that I had reviewed a previous version of the product. The reality is that the model hadn’t changed in three years and was identical to the current version, which I had stated in my review as well.

Throughout this interaction, the retailer missed out on several opportunities to respond to my moments of truth. First, when I ranked the product 5 stars, they immediately knew I had purchased the product and was pleased with it. Did they offer accessories for that drill machine? No. During that same session, I ended up purchasing a second power tool by the same manufacturer. Upon my next visit had they picked up that I was a brand advocate by recommending products by the same manufacturer? No. Did they in any way capitalize on this brand interaction? Not that I could tell.

This is not an atypical interaction. Most online sellers are thrilled with the value of social commerce for its ability to introduce fresh content that contributes to conversion. But today’s technologies enable you to realize more value from these interactions to deliver a more relevant shopping experience. This enables today’s marketers to act on social participation. For example:
• Segmenting super communicators and brand advocates to properly reward them.
• Proactively responding to antagonists.
• Delivering targeted offers, promotions, and coupons.

When I wrote about how
smarter retailers are redefining the customer journey, a common theme had occurred across dozens of interviews. Today’s marketers view every customer interaction as a moment of truth that tells us something about that customer, wherever they are in their journey. As marketers continue to pursue their customer centric strategies, they will increasingly respond in real time to that positive review you just posted embracing the opportunity to further personalize your experience by capturing the valuable information that you shared.


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