By Alex Romanovich – Founder, Social2B


By now, many consumer brands which are socially capable – many are scalable – begin to explore advanced methods of consumer engagement. The overarching belief is that the ‘social consumer’, as originally defined by Brian Solis, is sharing purchasing decisions before, during and after the buying experience, communicating their decisions online via ‘social grid’, and eagerly volunteering their reviews as the ‘citizen shopper’. While brands are trawling for ‘advocates and influencers’, hoping for quick brand engagement, social-local-mobile platform companies are selling the promise of ‘digital consumer convenience’ and better CTRs, while e-Commerce platforms are beginning to load the shopping carts with familiar ‘social buttons’.

But what can we say about the true social consumer intent? Will brands have to continue to stimulate their ‘brand experience’ with deals, wondering if loyalty is long-lasting?

Most recent study shows that 58% of US adults follow 6 retailers on the average and do so, primarily, for special deals. 42% of US online adults follow a retailer via Facebook, Twitter or a blog. And only 19% of US online adults have purchased from group buying sites, such as Groupon or LivingSocial.















Most common social tactics which are deployed by brands are:

• Ratings and Reviews
• Microblogs and landing pages
• Social Recommendations
• Company Blogs
• Client generated comments
• Product sharing on social sites
• Social Shopping Aggregator Sites (deal sites)
• Ability to engage open APIs
With advances in mobile and local tactics, a few platforms are emerging to leverage the ‘Like’ and do it locally, or at the store level. LocalResponse, for example, aggregates real-time check-ins from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Gowalla, Instagram and dozens of other services to help retailers serve relevant deals via tweets or other online promotions, while collecting huge amounts of data ready to be mined later for more scalable and highly targeted campaigns.
And clearly, the most common ‘social tactic’ deployed by brands is Ratings and Reviews. Used by most retailers directly on their shopping cart, it is now a standard function inside of many eCommerce platforms, such as Magento, Shopify, DemandWare and ATG.
And then there are Tumblr, Pinterest, Chill and other emerging content aggregation and microblogging platforms, allowing retailers to lead with content marketing and to ‘crowdsource’ opinion. Facebook alone allows brands to survey, poll and feed back the results for the brand followers, pricing the value of a ‘Review’ shared to Facebook at a whopping $15.72 (as per PowerReviews). Some consumers and groups are taking notice and are beginning to monetize this trend, hoping it will last for a while.
And while millennials and baby boomers alike are blending real life with digital, the question begs: what is the real intent of the consumer? Deals or long lasting relationship with the brands? Or is it the virality of the “Millennials social shopping spree”?
For more dimensions of Social Commerce, including behaviors, stats, platforms and technologies, please review my recent presentation at the Fashion Group International.