Reflections on Rise of Social Commerce #rsc10

Here are some my takeaways from the Altimeter Group’s first event, The Rise of Social Commerce in Palo Alto. Before discussing the presentations, I have a few personal reflections. Face time is so critical. Having conversations with like-minded peers is empowering, validating and challenging all at once. Having the opportunity to directly say out loud “thanks for the retweet” with a smile rather than a :) , gave me particular pleasure. The quality of participants and the genuine passion for the subject of the new social paradigm was impressive. It was a pleasure meeting you all. I look forward to continuing the conversation. So now to the presentation takeaways (slides and agenda here):

· Lora Cecere, Altimeter Group introduced social commerce as “the use of Social Technologies to connect, listen, understand and engage to improve the shopping experience.” StageOne: Let’s be social, Stage Two: Enlightened Engagement, Stage Three: Store of the Community, Stage Four: Frictionless Commerce

· Delta’s efforts towards frictionless commerce move this year focus to social, last year mobile, simplifying transactions to take place where customers are in less steps (in flight or inFacebook), just the beginning. “The future is here, it is just not widely distributed yet”, Gibson

· Beauchamp, Symphony IRI, emphasizes studies show shopper behavior “impulse decrease, research purchase decisions increase.” Take the “opportunity to delight, relevant content to right people at right time at right place.”

· Sinan Aral, NYU, shared studies on “On edifice of understanding human behavior on population scale. In digital age, human beings are signaling their behavior on population scale. How behavioral contagions spread human social networks is Homophile vs. Influence and what makes things go viral.

· Manish Mehta, DELL, Untapped potential to find sustainability interconnected outcome, Our fabric is changing to an extreme extent, need leadership If social commerce is to truly be accepted. Real world and digital bridges, community internal and external and organization. It’s not about shiny objects. Smart business fundamentals never change

· Panel on Social in a meaningful way lead by Jeremiah Owyang.
· The challenge with deal-based campaigns establishes expectations for discounts (buying friends rather than nurturing relationship with trust).
· Offer engagement as in Best Buy’s @twelpforce for recommended products rather than focusing on deals.
· Listening you see the demand signals that can be passed along the supply chain, collaboration in workspaces with partners, consumers, vendors

· Panel on Enlightened Engagement lead by Brian Solis
· Gerardo Dada of Bazaarvoice on Open graph as a social CRM will enable frictionless commerce, “Facebook is not a channel its a platform for conversation”, ”the customer has control, not the brand, listening key”
· Cathy Halligan, Power Reviews ” Integrating customer conversation into the browse path, lead to discovering customer recommended products and needs, use the right social tool for the job. Measure against your objective
· Brian Solis ” Campaigns are finite, relationships rely on continuous engagement”

· Pete Blackwell, Nielsen Digital Strategies, “Loyalty –> advocacy –> user contribution”
· We need to look at social as referral on steroids, taking it to the next level
· Three moments of truth: what you see, what you experience, what you express”
· Mobile phones will overtake PCs by 2015
· BRIC not burdened by legacy processes, will leapfrog in mobile
· Talk drivers: Banking: billing/payment, Retailers: staff attitude and knowledge
· Reverse engineer that into the business area that is driving that talk driver
· Better Business Bureau (BBB-US): talk drivers: sales practice issues, billing or collection issues, refund and exchange issues, service issues
· Serve–> shrink –> simplify
· Most of what triggers the online echo effect is offline experience
· Prediction: A little more energy into the HR social space, will have enormous potential

· Camille Lauer, Hallmark, ” Sustained engagement is a MUST.” Community brand loyalty has evolved into family dynamic (defenders community driven)” Challenge of ever changing rules of Facebook

· Manny Anekal, Zynga (Farmville, MafiaWars, etc…)
· The new hardcore gamer is the 40 year old mom, playing, gaming, purchasing”
· Social audience non-decision, too many choices bad
· Once they open their wallet, willing to open it a little further
· If they go to buy something and it is a pain In the neck, they won’t do it

· Panel on New Technologies that Make it Happen lead by Deb Shultz, Altimeter Group, How do we avoid the relationship with you and corporate of “ignore me, ignore me, ignore me, flowers on Valentine’s Day”
· Wendy Lea, Get Satisfaction, ” juxtaposition of social media with crowd sourcing, chance to put this social layer where it can amplify the value of investment in applications. Must be tied into the rest of the business processes.”
· Cyriac Roeding, CEO, Shopkick, mobile rewards for walking into a store, iPhone app, with app open (partnerships with retailers), “kick bucks” earned turned to instant gift certificate. If foot traffic is number one challenge, why is no one rewarding it?”
o 95% of check-ins are fake. Fundamental problem of all location based technology. New technology. Their solution is a box based on inaudible audio signal inside-store $100. Becoming Vicinity based vs. Presence based check-in

· Charlyn Li, Open Leadership author, Altimeter Group Founder, Create sandbox covenants
· Find and support those open leaders, they will be the ones who transform business
· Failure mastery will lead to success
· Anticipate organizational transformation
· Social will be like air. Make the technology disappear
· Privacy won’t matter. Permissions will.
· You can’t just show them the technology you need to teach them the value of relationships

· Community of the Store panel
· Kaboodle (recommendation tool for products and services), ModclothSephora and Wetseal all interesting and exciting companies and cases using social commerce effectively.

· Marcia Conner’s panel on Rewiring the Organization: social is not new, what is new is wider and deeper and with different markets even within the organizations, how can we enable that with technology, Creating collaborative culture inside organizations. How do we make that happen. Do you have modelers, what roles are there? Panel answered that must have drivers but shared ownership of process depending on scale (smaller companies more agile (Marsh’s HR University), larger had micro units and communities as well as global IBM)

· How do we get to Frictionless commerce, Charlyn Li
· Matt Compton, ShopIgniter, Advocate, be where they are, integrate with core business processes
· John Corpus, Conversational Commerce, Think Big, start small and grow fast
· Siva Kumar, The Find, participate, presence builds trust
Li asked about the Behavioral Shift in the paradigm?
· MC: offline behavior is slowly being adapted online, plumbing is now set
· SK- people want results that reflect their taste

All in all it was well worth the trip over the top of the world. A special thanks to Dave for being a friendly welcoming face and to Marcia for making me laugh and just “be”. It was a pleasure meeting you all and I look forward to opportunities to collaborate in the future. I was sorry to have missed the Stickybits guy, but perhaps next time. There are a lot of interesting technologies to keep in mind for my clients in the future.

Discover the Art of Social Strategy (©2007, 2BalanceU AB)