Tag Archives: social commerce

Flip your clothes using social marketplace Threadflip

I like the concept of Threadflip.  It is a social marketplace where you can sell your old clothes and accessories, and browse for fashion that suits your style.

Threadflip is:

‘is an exclusive and unique social marketplace designed to let you refresh your closet in a few easy steps. Sell the items you no longer wear, or share your own designs. Use your credit to shop the closets of your favorite designers, collectors, bloggers and friends or just cash out! Here’s a glimpse of what other fashionistas are flipping on Threadflip’

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As a start up, Threadflip relies on investors, and has just secured a $1.3 million round of investment. It competes with other social shopping sites such as Poshmark, and eBay.

It is currently available to buyers and sellers in the US only, but has plans to increase its reach worldwide.

Users can sign in with Facebook, upload images of items that they would like to sell.  If the item is sold, the seller then ships the goods to buyers.Threadflip takes 15 per cent from the sale of each item.  if you have not time to do the selling yourself, Threadflip offers a white glove service.  They take care of the sale for you, and send you the cash from the sale.

You can state your fashion preferences and shoe size to ensure that all of the images you see are of items that you would like to buy.  You don’t need to search for the items, the items find you.The feed, which looks a lot like the Pinterest feed, shows who has liked the items, and comments for each item, and you have the opportunity to follow people who love, comment or purchase goods. ught,

One of the great advantages of social marketplaces is that buyers can share information about items that they intend to purchase, or have already bought.  The concept is like a collaborative swap meet, you sell and buy from people with same style as you.  Its a good idea – especially for female netizens who like to shop and share online.

Hopefully international commerce will be opened soon – I have my eyes on several items already Smile

 

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

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Quirky: Using influence to create new products

I like the idea of using your influence to contribute to and create new ideas and products.  New York based start-up Quirky allows you to submit an idea, have it reviewed and evaluated by the community, and based on their feedback, either refine and redesign the product, or take it forward into production.

The web site also encourages social sales in addition to direct sales.  Users are more likely to purchase a product where they’ve influenced product design or manufacture either directly or indirectly.

Cordies

There are some great ideas on the site already too – like this cord grabber to stop your cables falling off the desk.  There are related products to buy too.

Will this new way of product design evolve using social collaboration?  Internally, it would certainly get round the interminable product review meetings that companies have.  Meetings where half the team are pushing for their component to be included in the mix and the other half processing their email and not contributing to the meeting.

Perhaps your design could fall victim to the Wikipedia model, where any changes are instantly reverted by the page owner and new ideas are drowned in a sea of conformity.

Or are we poised to change the whole way that products are created – and allow innovation to lead the way?

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

eBay: We have a Hunch what you will want to buy…

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As we try to get a more personalised online shopping experience and social commerce tries to attract more social customers, we try to work out what our customers are going to want next.  And big brands are keen to understand what their customers want So the news that eBay has acquired Hunch tells me that eBay are right on the money with their acquisition.

Hunch is a site that makes decisions based on your interests, likes and dislikes.   Its a bit like the yellow pages but you can see recommendations from your friends and connections.  It builds something it calls a ‘taste graph’ based on your responses.  You can agree or disagree with the results of the graph.  You can recommend products, search for products and see how closely they match your preferences.

Hunch can also mine your actions on social networking sites outside of eBay and use these results to give eBay users a more specialised set of insights and recommendations, hopefully leading to further sales.

Recommendation engines are key to social commerce sites that want to understand their customers buying patterns, and also track their intention or desire to buy.  Tracking customer behaviour will enable eBay to suggest products that fall into the customers ‘desire to buy’ zone making them more likely to complete the purchase… 

Amazon have a simplified recommendation engine for their offerings based on other customers purchases.  If you’ve bought a particular book, then other customers who have also bought that book, have also purchased this one.  Peer recommendations clinch sales so recommendation engines are important to ensure longevity, sales and customer loyalty.

Better recommendation engines will drive commerce sites to build better customer engagement and more targeted web offerings – ultimately leading to more sales for the brand.  

This acquisition is a really good purchasing decision for eBay and we’ll benefit from it as the recommendation engine is refined and implemented… 

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

From Tissues to ‘ Wedgehogs’: The role of social media in innovation start-ups

Image credit: Flickr

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We live in a connected world. The information superhighway brings information to our fingertips in many different ways across many different devices and form factors.

We have access to the worldwide knowledge economy.

We connect to data stored remotely on servers – who knows where?

We gather knowledge, do product research and buy goods online.

This knowledge repository and increasingly fast access speeds deliver data and information across the connected world. Anyone with an internet connection, an internet presence and time to invest in communications, can succeed in the global market.

Small companies can broadcast their message using free social media tools. The people powered social network can propagate and distribute your business idea further than you could do on your own. You can benefit from the ‘collective sum of human knowledge’ to receive innovative ideas which could take your business in a completely new direction. This community can also highlight potential deficiencies in your idea which you may not have noticed this in your desire to get to market.

You might also discover a new business opportunity appears seemingly out of nowhere.

Kleenex tissues were originally designed to be used in gas mask filters during the First World War, as cotton was needed in hospitals for dressing wounds. This tissue was then marketed as an effective tissue for removing cold cream and makeup. In the late 1920’s a researcher tried to persuade the company to market the tissue as a disposable handkerchief for colds.

This innovative new use for a product took over 10 years to evolve. How long would it take today?

Crowdsourcing – the use of outsourcing a set of tasks to an undefined number of people in a community (a ‘crowd’) would have taken much less time to suggest a new use for the facial tissue. How long would this crowd take to help you with your product design, development, marketing and advertising?

There are several forums for start-ups and Entrepreneurs that use the same principle of crowdsourcing to solicit advice on design and business ideas. These forums use the same social principle as most other social media platforms. Typically a user asks for information or advice and the community responds with solutions or signposts to other resources to use. Facebook have recently introduced ‘Questions’, an opportunity to poll the Facebook community for input. Marks and Spencer in the UK recently polled their Facebook Fans to create a new name for a hedgehog shaped doorstop. Over 2500 people responded to the poll, and the ‘Wedgehog’ was created.

Using the community for input to your product can bring great benefits to your business. The community could potentially spread your message across their communities and beyond.

Social media enables you to make strong business connections that you can use to enhance your business and strengthen your social commerce ties. And this is the medium that enables effective information flow. You need to invest the time to communicate your business idea in a compelling and innovative way to capture the imagination of the community and watch it propagate.

 

Eileen is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business.

Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

 

The Rise of the new Social Shopper

Image Credit: Flickr

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When we think about how we used to make online purchases, its amazing how far we’ve come from the ‘Click to Buy’ transaction a few years ago.  Social commerce has brought the opportunities to make the emotional connection with the vendor before we buy. The new way of classifying goods for sale democratises data, allowing it to be shared with our friends and colleagues. 

Good marketing campaigns get much further reach and a greater awareness than ever before, and peer recommendations encourage further sales.

The challenge that marketers have is our current mind-set.  We’re unsure what’s happening to the economy.  When will it recover?  Will it recover?  How are we going to manage right now.  Our survival instinct kicks in, we tighten our belts and we stop purchasing the very things that marketers are trying to get us to buy.  We search for more affordable things – and this drives our behaviour. 

We use comparison websites, we surf channels for the best deals.  Our purchase decisions are all driven by the bargains we can get.  Consumers are often not making the decision to buy something in the shops – the impulse to buy is delayed until they have done some research online, read the reviews about the product before they make their decision.

The way we shop has changed too.  There are 3 roles that consumers fall into:

  • The end user:  For them shopping is done almost exclusively online.  They shop from home and they use price comparison websites extensively
  • The shopper:  They walk around town, visiting shop by shop to see what’s on offer.  They then use the web to see if they can get a better deal online
  • The buyer:  They buy physical items in real shops.  Yes, they’ll shop around, but they make the purchase at a physical store.  Its a real experience for them

The challenge for the marketer is that the power has shifted from the brand to the consumer.  The consumer makes the decisions about where, when and how they will shop.  With over 300 million applications for smartphones and tablet devices like the iPad, media has shifted from Marketing media to My media, to Our media (through sharing).  The right technology allows consumers find the best product for them and buy it at the right brand.  It allows them to build a relationship with these brands. 

So how do you break through all of your competitors, and the competitive clutter to target your audience with relevant messaging from the brand?  how do you enlist your brand advocates to spread the word on your behalf?

Brand advocates are really important in your marketing and advertising efforts.  Getting a good dialogue with your brand evangelists as I talk about in my book is key to broadening your message out beyond the first tier of connections.  Your message gets shared and amplified.

Factor in these 5 concepts to connect with your customer.

  • Every customer has a lifestyle which goes way beyond your product.  Study their lifestyles to really understand how to market to them.  If you know your customer

    well, and know their lifestyles, then you will know what they want to buy/

  • As a marketer, you have an opportunity to delight customers by providing timely and relevant content in the right place – on the right device.  Make sure your content is compelling and interesting.
  • Social Coupons which can be shared – and can go viral are much better than paper based coupons.  They have a huge reach and return.  See the reach that Threshers had with their very successful viral coupon campaign and the associated commentary here and here wondering whether it was a genuine mistake or a fake viral campaign
  • Consumer promotions and brand advertising work well together and have a higher return that just a TV campaign on its own.  Think about a co-ordinated approach similar to the Old Spice US marketing campaign
  • Give them the campaigns that they want- in the form factor they want – on the device that they want.  Don’t make them change their behaviour to suit you

 

Eileen is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business

Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach. 

 

Why Twitter broadcast marketing doesn’t work

I had a bit of an experiment the other day.  I threw some words out like iPad on my Twitter stream to see what type of followers I got, and I followed these new followers back.  I also did a search for words like ‘Golf’ and ‘Apple’ and followed some accounts at random.  within a couple of days, I’d noticed a pattern:

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These  accounts, tweeted the same information several times throughout the day.  Ezbonus and Ezdollor are linked accounts, as are Slim Recipe and Golf Tips, NoeEllsworth and SydneyPrieto.  All transmit the same information across accounts. Why?

Well these bots are used for several reasons.  Broadcasting from different Twitter names simultaneously gives them a much wider reach.  You are less likely to report them for spam as their messages will be scattered throughout your timeline.  I was lucky to see this bunch together in my stream.  Each of these accounts have followers.

And followers = marketing impressions.  useful for your scorecard, useful for your metrics 

  • If your social media strategy revolves around quantity of Twitter followers, then you’d be delighted by the results.
  • If you rely on click throughs, the short links will provide you with metrics showing you how many clicks have happened.
  • If you rely on advertising revenue – look at the adverts on each of the destination pages
  • If you’re using someone else to market your product and don’t keep a tight rein on what is going on – this might be happening to your campaigns

All these accounts are spam accounts.  Unfortunately, many Twitter client apps have autofollow enabled. which means that a bot could follow you and you autofollow back.  You might autofollow accounts based on keywords. 

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I  suspect that this Twitter user autofollows based on keywords.  I followed both of these accounts based on the term ‘Social Networking’  Look at the number of following and followers he has which looks great for his stats and his business

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  But is this type of behaviour going to get you business?  Is your behaviour really genuine?

    • Do people actually read these multiple messages, do click throughs ever happen, do sales ever complete? 
    • Do people with thousands of followers actually have the time to interact with people who send them messages? 
    • Are users who are following massive numbers of people actually able to keep track of the conversation? 
    • If they have sorted out their columns in Tweetdeck to show  only their ‘Best friends’, why are they following  so many other accounts?
    • Is it our fault, that by not managing our lists of people we follow, that we encourage this type of activity?

This type of marketing will never work.  Blatant spamming will get you blocked, repeating the same links over and over again will turn your customers away.  Authenticity rules.  Human interaction wins.

Twitter isn’t a broadcast tool – it’s a listening engine – Especially if you really want to connect with your customers.  Companies that don’t connect with their customers or their audience will never be wholly successful, will never see the real value of this social interaction.

…And now I’m off to clean my Twitter stream – to get some quality conversations back into my feed Smile

 

My book is in the Top 10.

Oh my word.  My book is listed at number 2 in the bestsellers in Advertising books on Amazon.co.uk.  Yay.  I’m delighted…

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…in Advertising too.  Well well,  I’m also ranked at number 5 in the top 10 books for Legal and E-commerce.  yay again…

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But I still have quite a way to go before I get into the top 100 books… I can dream can’t I?

I’m now going to add Advertising onto my LinkedIn profile and see what sort of work that brings meOpen-mouthed smile