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As Facebook prepares to IPO and we all get a good peek at the financials of the social platform, the buzz around “social commerce” is increasing. But what does that term mean? And who are the players in the intersection of social media and e-commerce? Below is a simple guide. And you can check out the Social Commerce Summit this Tuesday, Business Insider’s deep-dive into this market, featuring major brands such as Walmart, Heineken, TicketMaster, PepsiCo, and more — as well as top startups such as LivingSocial, Fab, and Birchbox. Get your ticket now to learn about best practices in social media marketing and sales. The intense agenda will cover the purchase funnel from discovery to click-and-buy. (Including a discussion on top tactics for leveraging Facebook!)
So what exactly is social commerce and why all the buzz? It’s a broad term, but here are a few uses, with Social Commerce Summit speakers bolded:
- Major brands such as Fortune 500 companies are realising the huge upside to using social media and social experiences to sell their products. For example: Heineken USA creates a Facebook app that pairs you with another Facebook user. You both want a “BeerTender” that pours Heineken on tap, and you buy them for each other. PepsiCo creates a “Mission Control” centre at Gatorade HQ to aggressively move into social media. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia uses social-shopping site OpenSky to help promote products in a personalised way that resonates with tasteful consumers.
- Of course, someone needs to measure all this social chatter. Metrics honchos like Radian6 provide data on social-media engagement and real-time monitoring of diverse platforms. Klout tries to gauge the influence of active users of services like Twitter and Facebook, and targets the most influential for brand promotions. Buddy Media puts out software to monitor and optimise social-media communications, so major brands can control their “voice” and image online. Bazaarvoice provides white-label software to incorporate user reviews and other social functionality to destination sites like KateSpade.com.
- Meanwhile, entrepreneurs — many of whom have worked in traditional retail — are creating their own companies to leverage social commerce. They are frequently disruptive, disintermediating middle men in the product supply chain by selling online or blurring the line between customers and salespeople. Some exciting and often fast-growing companies include: LivingSocial, Chloe + Isabel, Birchbox, Zaarly, Oodle, Warby Parker.
- Naturally, investors are very excited about this potential. After all, the US retail market is worth $400 billion monthly, according to the census. This is a huge pie for emerging startups to bite from. Venture capitalists from Lightbank, Battery Ventures, RRE Ventures, and General Catalyst will be speaking at Social Commerce Summit
- Finally, publishers and media such as DailyCandy, Rogers Media and Sugar Inc can capture additional revenue by introducing e-commerce and social deals into their readers’ experience.
Want to learn more on who will profit and how all this affects your business? Join us next week at Social Commerce Summit!
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