What is the difference between social commerce and ecommerce applications?
I can summarize the difference between social commerce (scommerce) and ecommerce simply by looking at the core features that make a social commerce application. The list below are the topics that I think are essential to create a full implementation of a social commerce application.
Empowerment: Your customers are a powerful force and by giving them the power to share their experiences of the products and services you offer you can indirectly re-enforce marketing and sales messages. In this process some of your customers will be converted to fans, these individuals will help your business by answering technical questions and assisting other customers without asking for any reward.
Rewards: Although your fans will help you regardless of reward, it's nice to give something back. Rewarding a customers social networking habits is a way to not only grow your fan base, but also a way to retain your less active customers and keep them interested.
Retention: Having a customer visit your site once and make a purchase is OK, but the real goal is to keep them coming back. Offering rewards to entice your customers to revisit is a good start but you need more. The social network gives you the "more" factor by having interesting content supplied by not only your business but also other customers.
Measurement: Your customers are important and without measuring what they do and responding to them with targeted marketing campaigns you will lose business. The new wave of tools allowing you to understand the social dynamics of your user base are at the absolute core of measurement. Measurement creates a feedback loop into all other areas of your social commerce community.
You might say that some elements of the topics above you will find in a standard ecommerce application, for example reviews. Indeed reviews have been ecommerce for a while however, the ecommerce application lacks the social network to support authenticity of the review and is therefore only social commerce at a very basic level. The important concept that I am trying to articulate is that social commerce is about leveraging all aspects of the social network to better promote products and services, something that is difficult to do in standard ecommerce.
What businesses are using Social Commerce?.
WishPot is a clever interpretation of social commerce. WishPot is an on-line wish list that you share with your friends and family to allow them to select presents for you that you will truly appreciate. The products that are available are aggregated from various stores such as Amazon and can be given reviews that are backed by the users profile and interaction on the site.
- Kaboodle is social commerce site that is based around interest groups, it has a community that is willing to share thoughts and reviews on products making your shopping trip more like a trip to the mall with your friends.
- Dell have launched a site based on Community Server that allows their customers' to share experiences, advice and reviews. Dell has yet to embrace a reward system which I think is something that they will have to investigate if they truly want to embrace social commerce
None of the sites yet cover all of the ERRM concept and I feel there is much more discussion to be had. If you would like to join us to discuss more please join our social commerce group @ LinkedIn. We want to open the discussion of social commerce to everyone.