Rise of Social Commerce Conference Kicks Off Today
Today kicks off Rise of Social Commerce in Palo Alto, CA, the latest in a series of conferences focused on the topic of social commerce. Last week, Lift Summit, a one-day conference, was held in Atlanta. In April, BazaarVoice sponsored Social Commerce Summit 2010.
This begs the question, why are there suddenly a number of conferences aimed at social commerce?
Lora Cecere, partner with Altimeter Group, the organization hosting the Rise of Social Commerce conference, explains it this way: "Companies are going west, so to speak. It's not dissimilar to the idea of pioneers going west years ago. We don't yet know what 'west' looks like, but we believe it will be the intersection of e-commerce, mobile commerce (m-commerce) and social commerce (s-commerce)."
"E-commerce is about the efficiency of the transaction, purchasing what I want easily; m-commerce is about anywhere/anytime, and s-commerce is about making the shopping experience social," she added.
Cecere described social media's evolution as occurring in four stages culminating with social commerce in 2011:
Stage 1: Social For The Sake Of Social. This involves companies using social media primarily for branding and marketing.
Stage 2: Enlightened Engagement. Social media moves horizontally across the organization and involves an emphasis on listening to the voice of the customer and having dialog with them.
Stage 3: Store Of The Community. The community provides input into what products and promotions should look like. This is represented by efforts such as what Dell has done with its Ideastorm, which allows customers to have input on new features they feel should included in its products.
"It is at this stage that companies realize that they can use new technologies - mobile applications, geo-location shopping and social couponing - coupled with emerging social technologies, loyalty programs and point of sale data to redesign the shopping experience," said Cecere.
Stage 4: Frictionless Commerce. Cecere identified this stage as the "intersection of e-commerce, m-commerce and s-commerce." The shopping experience is redesigned to improve the commerce experience and build customer intimacy. Push-based processes give way to the momentum of community pull. Friends can buy with friends, new services can be delivered, checkout becomes more automated, and channels become more seamless.
"It's not just about putting shopping cart on Facebook, but taking social connections and saying how do we make this experience of shopping, which has been very transactional and impersonal and making it personal and better," stated Cecere.
While Rise of Social Commerce is focused on large consumer brands - Dell, Newell Rubbermaid, Sephora and others - Cecere suggested smaller ecommerce merchants can benefit as well: "Smaller companies have the ability to move on this more quickly. They can be fast followers and even beat the bigger guys at their game."
Debashish Mandal says:
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I am the developer of an enabler service for social commerce.
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I would really appreciate any advice you may have for my start up.