Tomorrow's Ecommerce Design Today graphic

The New Ecommerce II: Social Shopping


New Ecom In 3 Parts

The Haiku Deck above covers three major areas of information about the New Ecommerce including:

This post is about the rise of the social and mobile web and the “social shopping” its creating.

Rise of the Social & Mobile Web

It not JUST that our smartphones are rarely more than 15 feet away. The ubiquitous “always on” nature of our social med web makes our phones game consoles. Don’t have to look far for a demonstration. Next time you are at Starbucks waiting on your coffee STOP looking at your phone long enough to notice how many people are looking at theirs. Everyone but you has head down and is escaping into their “mobile world”.

Surely the smartphone is today’s “security blanket” killing any “free time” with social engagement and a “what is happening now” obsession that creates and changes e-commerce content. Today’s e-commerce content needs to be fresh, social, magazine-like and look great on our phones, pads, laptops and desktop computers.

Filter Bubbles & Friends of Friends Marketing

Filter bubbles are the fortresses we build so advertising can get into our heads. We DVR TV, watch Netflix and use Roku (or Apple TV) so our content is commercial free. We use second screens to talk about what we are watching as we watch.

We talk, share and value what friends or “trusted sources,” say, share and like. We mistrust, are suspicious of and have become hardened against the pitch, the sale or the untrusted. As our bubbles filter more and wrap tighter around us thanks to Google and other search engines changing the search to be more “relevant” (to and for us)we aren’t open to or available for “marketing communications” such as commercials, ads or infomercials.

Filter Bubbles & Friends of Friends Marketing graphic

Websites, brands, and companies grow best by empowering people who already love them to share with their friends. Friends of Friends is marketing by proxy, so it requires different tools, tactics, and strategies such as:

  • Identification of website, company or brand advocates or “Ambassadors”.
  • Empowering Ambassadors with stories and visual tools needed to influence friends.
  • Gamification of the Ambassador’s mission so competition helps raise the bar and define “mission” objectives.
  • Community building by handing more and more control and power of the online property to those who use it.

¬†Social Shopping Isn’t What You Think

Social shopping is about mashing up sensor signals from Facebook to who is using WAZE (a mobile traffic app) right now and how? Many think of “social shopping” as what do friends buy, like or share on Facebook? Such a definition robs “social shopping” of its Internet of Things connectivity.

We are about to trip sensors a million times a day. Everything from our refrigerators to our sneakers will be connected, dialed in and sharing on the web. Think of “social shopping” as “what can a customer know right now about anyone anywhere that will influence them one way or the other. Be the first to mashup sensor readings and you win disproportionately to laggards.

Social shopping is the intersection between mobile, social media and the Internet of Things. Never underestimate what a sensor says about us. If my fridge’s water filter needs replacing that may not SEEM like a social event. But what if I want recommendations on new filters?

Our ability to NOT KNOW things and instantly tap mavens and wizards who do makes “social shopping” social Q&A, social evaluation and social prospecting long before money changes hands. As our social nets scale, we tend to tap them for whatever is needed. We search less and ask more.

One could rightfully ask if the future of social shopping shifts our desire to know OBJECTS replacing it with our desire to know “the guy” who knows the object. Remember that Seinfeld when they talked about finding “the guy” to do whatever? There is always a “guy (or girl)” or knows more, a MAVEN you can get to teach you how something really works.

Our lives are overwhelming. Our lives are so overwhelming we make active choices about what we will learn and what content we can afford to delegate and allow others to guide our decisions. If your e-commerce website doesn’t have a lot of “guides” built out of your Ambassador group you will suffer. Your customers want to know the experiences of people like them.

Here is one way our e-commerce designs should change to incorporate social shares. In this example “ambassadors” are curating relevant content from social channels. Easy to switch people to topics or brands too: