“Marketers spend a good deal of money on social media programs, oftentimes giving away free products to Facebook fans and Twitter followers – who may not even be customers - in exchange for esoteric consumer ‘engagement,’ the value of which remains hotly debated. Investing that money into a data-driven personalized shopping experience that only rewards those who’ve proven themselves patrons may actually help the bottom line while still motivating people to promote your company’s products.”—
Quote from Advertising Age article describing Zappos co-founder Nick Swinmurn’s new startup RNKD (pronounced Ranked).
I’ve always thought that a personalized login on GP that allowed users to create profiles about what they like — and in turn see what other readers similar to them like would be a useful service. Essentially it’s the digital equivalent to monitoring the tastes of your peer group. Many players in the online space have circled around this theme from different angles. Svpply & The Fancy bring the bookmarking/database approach. Gilt Group and Mr. Porter obviously have mountains of shopping behavior data and dabble in personalization.
The real problem everyone is trying to solve for is defining what someone’s tastes are. Looking at brand preferences, income, age, sex, occupation, and previous purchases creates a basic web for these comparisons — but there’s still a big gap of information that’s left on the table. If I was calling the shots, I’d be focusing on extracting as much existing data from Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr about users first. Most of the basics can be knocked out there. The goal for the new network would then be to capture relative information that may typically be missing from Facebook.
A new startup called thecools.com takes a unique approach in this area that I like. Basically before a user can start using the tool, they must answer a series of questions covering basic topics. While it’s not entirely scientific, it does establish a preferential baseline on a users taste. I’ve pasted a few screen shots below to show their approach.
Google+ and Social Shopping
There has been much written in the social media online press about the ‘battle’ between Google+ and Facebook. Depending on whether the commentator has been dwelling on the Google+ interface itself or its use in browser, there are a couple broad views- one that it is/isn’t a facebook killer and whether one believes is will suceed or fail, is a direct competitor. The other sees it as a social addition to browsing, that it is what it adds to the online experience that is important rather than the stand-alone Google+ element.
That particular discussion isn’t central to the couple of observations I wanted to make here about the potential of Google+. The key difference with Google+ is its ability to divide people into more natural social groupings, rather than just a monocultural block of ‘friends’. This ability for the individual to divide people up the way they see them, visible only to them, gives rise to some very interesting opportunities for companies.
Social shopping is one area where Google+ can excel; you may not want to share what you are reading with every single Facebook contact, but if you have a university group circle, or a book group circle, then you may want to invite them to purchase as well. There is a potential for retailers like Amazon to interface with its consumer using Google+, let users drag people into a ‘reading group’ circle that exists on both Google+ and on Amazon itself. The same could be true of sports equipment, music and Gig tickets, iTunes. With the fractionalisation of friendship groups that Google+ provides, you can share with a circle, selected individuals, and do so in a way that is more casual than a message and or an email, and in a way that can be much more seamlessly integrated into the shopping experience. Turn that idea round, and there is also potential for forming groups to buy together, a micro-group buying mechanism that could allow you to drop your name into a circle to buy, with friends or even with strangers. In that respect, Google+ could need an online currency, or perhaps even just a PayPal integration more that Facebook needs its credits. Google+ self-sorting mechanism for networking acknowledge people innate desire to both share and withhold which makes it potentially game-changing for retailers, and I can’t wait to see the first brand to effectively unlock it.
“Psychologist Tom Guarriello shared that consumers are driven by six basic emotions – fear, anger, surprise, disgust, sadness and joy. Joy is the only universally positive emotion and it’s the only emotion that brands should strive to create for their customers”—Fashion Social Media, Mobile Commerce Marketing » Social Shopping Psychology: Engage, Delight And Make Us Hit BUY
Instapaper + Social Shopping = SVPPLY
“Svpply is a social shopping site. The site allows you to register, start keeping track of products you like. Based on your friends on twitter and facebook you will start seeing products they like. Svpply is dedicated to helping you discover things you would not otherwise come across to purchase.”
In addition to their own description of their service, the one quoted above, my first reaction to SVPPLY was that it’s an Instapaper-like service of sorts too. Kind of a bookmarking service for physical products we find all around the web and have a desire to purchase at some point in time. Hella cool.
Social networking site evolves to SOCIAL SHOPPING site !
Social media platforms tend to evolve by the whims of the owners who decide what is best for their users. We have certainly witnessed that with Facebook, Google as well as YouTube. In Indonesia, a social networking platform for photo and video sharing has evolved into a social shopping site called Multiply 5.0. The platform connects the sellers in a virtual world with willing buyers.