Social Commerce in 2011

Micro-trend 1: Social commerce
Shopping, whether it is for a pair of pants, diapers, or seeds, fertilizer, and a plow on a virtual farm, is inherently social. And while social commerce is not new , the trend is going to escalate and expand in 2011.

Social commerce with the end goal of increasing conversions, leads, and sales started to gain attention years ago with consumer reviews and began to escalate with the introduction of social shopping sites and functionality such as Facebook Connect. Storefronts on Facebook are swiftly escalating, and we recently saw this concept extracted to YouTube with what was described as the first “YouTique” launched at the end of September, by French Connection.

The connection of social media to sales, sales indicators, promotions, and other measurable or valued marketing and sales conversions — including couponing — is fueling the investment in social media as companies begin to prove the capability to drive commerce.
The ability to drive commerce and hence expand the potential advertising and marketing opportunities is also fueling the growth of location-based social networking, such as place-based saving apps like Shopkick and incentive-based offers from Foursquare. Currently advertisers can offer “deals” when someone checks in at a location near them, and Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley has said that the company is exploring models in which local store owners can offer incentives to users who tweet or check-in each time they frequent a location.

More is evolving on the check-in front and literally in stores. Shopkick describes itself as the first mobile app that gives consumers rewards and offers simply for walking into a store. The app allows you to collect “kickbucks” for checking in, as well as by scanning products in the store with your phone. This is a great promo and offer play for marketers, and current companies taking advantage include Best Buy, American Eagle Outfitters, Facebook (credits), and Sports Authority.

“Location is a key factor in the future of search, social, commerce, and media, among a lot of other things,” Federated Media founder John Battelle has said. “Local is the most important signal to emerge in the database of intentions since the link.”


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