@Katadhin, John Andrews, Collective Bias Founder/CEO, has over 14 years experience with leading brands like Sara Lee, Eastman Kodak Digital, Newell Rubbermaid, and of course Walmart, where he is perhaps best known for the creation of its award winning social media platform Elevenmoms, an industry-leading online customer advocate program.

 

I read a great Mashable article recently detailing how retailers were closing Facebook Storefronts they only opened recently.  My favorite part of the article was a quote that said, “Selling someone something on Facebook is like trying to sell them something in a busy bar.” I immediately thought of the industrious souls who hawk roses in restaurants and bars, and imagined one coming through with some golf clubs for sale. It was an amusing image.

As I began to give it some thought however, I thought about how the discussions at bars are a real and persuasive part of the Path to Purchase.  I was reminded of this last week when I was having some beers with a few friends at The Cigar Inn in New York and we began discussing summer travel destinations, shoes, apps, socks, running apparel – you name it.  Undoubtedly, these casual conversations will affect my purchase of some products and services in the future.

While I didn’t whip out my phone and buy anything (I easily could have via Amazon or through the American Airlines App), this socialization of commerce is highly influential to my eventual purchases.  While I personally would never initiate a purchase via Facebook, I might have a similar conversation via Facebook that would spur a future purchase.  No need for a storefront, I’d start with Google in any case because it would expand my options and increase the likelihood of finding a deal.

I am convinced Social Commerce, or sCommerce, is the future of retail.  Creating social content shells that parallel the shopper’s journey creates an opportunity for relevant interaction whereverthey choose, not just at the conversion moment.  While this may seem overwhelming, it’s actually becoming simpler every day.  Consider the variety of social content aggregation tools like Pinterest, Path, Issuu or Instagram.  A Pinterest post is an inspiration tool powering sCommerce through social network interaction that weaves in Facebook, Twitter, Blog Posts, etc., as the users choose.  When accessed via Google search during an eCommerce transition or an in-store shopping trip, this socially derived content becomes Social Commerce.

I have a gardening Pinterest page called “get your hands dirty” that will undoubtedly drive hundreds of dollars of spending for my household as spring arrives through the inspirational pins I’ve collected.  No doubt all the cool things I’d like to do to my yard, many people who have repinned my pins will also attempt as well.

It’s time to re-envision retail, not as a destination like a store or website, but as an access to products and services when and where the consumer wants powered by their social graphs.

 

Originally posted at Collective Bias

 

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