Home  › Social › Social Commerce

What's Next in Social Retail: App-ify and Amplify

  |  April 3, 2012   |  Comments

The emergence of this new social retail model marks an exciting time for brands looking to connect with their customers.

The web doesn't work like it used to. And that's a great thing for retailers.

For the past 15 years or so, a customer would "browse" to a retailer's e-commerce site, "navigate" a catalog of products, maybe buy something, and then leave. Online retail has been a solitary, hidden experience for even a brand's most loyal shoppers.

Although this model is still the norm for many e-commerce sites, new shopping experiences are based on something different, the social retail model. The social retail model hinges on two particular aspects of the customer experience that, when executed correctly, marketers and merchandisers can leverage to great advantage: app-ification and amplification.

"App-ification"

The social- and mobile-centric web is starting to app-ify; as we've learned from mobile, apps are the most universal container for user experiences and the exchange of value between brands and consumers. Whether they ultimately install an app on their iPhone, or click "allow" on a Facebook permissions dialogue, consumers are following the same basic engagement flow:

  1. Discover the app, typically through the content or experience it contains.
  2. Allow the app, either by installing it or allowing it access to profile information.
  3. Experience the app, which offers some mix of utility (e.g., shopping), content (e.g., news), or entertainment (e.g., gaming).
  4. Share content from the app, either explicitly or automatically (such as through Facebook's frictionless sharing).

This new flow is quickly replacing the old means of accessing and experiencing content online (open browser, enter URL, "surf" the web, and so on).

This holds true for Angry Birds:

  1. I hear about it
  2. I install it
  3. I play it
  4. I publicly post my scores

And it also holds true for a social retail experience such as theFancy.com:

  1. I find the site - likely through a friend's posting
  2. I log in with Facebook and "allow"
  3. I experience the products and content
  4. I post and share my own experience (things I "fancy")

For marketers and merchandisers who want to create compelling experiences to their products, this app-ified model brings a significant new advantage: the "allow."

The allow (or install) step is the cleanest and most powerful "opt in." The old rules of permission marketing still apply - brands need to offer a compelling reason for consumers to share their profile data - but the app-ification of the web makes this a very explicit "tit for tat."

Amplification

"Frictionless" sharing is rapidly replacing explicit sharing (click "share," compose a post, choose a channel, publish), which often works only when someone really wants to share something. Most of the time, however, this kind of sharing is too much work. Frictionless sharing builds multiple amplification opportunities into the social retail experience with no effort on the part of the consumer.

By building experiences that take advantage of the social graph (what did my friends do?) and the interest graph (what did other people like me do?), brands can significantly amplify product discovery. Brands such as Spotify and Pinterest follow the social retail model to engage customers, create momentum, and amplify discovery.

Look at how Spotify puts amplification to work for music:

  1. I listen to a Grimes song on Spotify
  2. My friends automatically see a notification in their Facebook ticker
  3. They think, "Hmm, I like some of Kevin's music"...and they click to check it out

This amplification also works for products on Pinterest:

  1. I pin a Waterford bag to my "Eternal Search for the Perfect Bag" pinboard
  2. My friends automatically see a notification in Facebook
  3. They click and check it out (and maybe they re-pin it, and amplify further)

This is the way all social retail experiences should work.

Putting App-ification and Amplification to Work Effectively

The emerging "app model" can be incredibly powerful for marketers and merchandisers creating social retail experiences. These experiences should automatically generate relevant and authentic amplification based on customers using the app, site, or microsite. That "relevant and authentic" part can be tricky though, if they don't create social retail experiences that are both:

  • Compelling enough to earn the customers' allow or install. Compelling offers (product launches, exclusive offers, flash sales) consistently earn the allow.
  • Engaging enough to generate amplification that is relevant and authentic. Engaging product experiences (voting, rating/reviewing, contributing, "liking") consistently generate amplification.

The good news is that the industry is starting to see some best practices in both these areas, based on what social customers respond to best. The emergence of this new social retail model marks an exciting time for brands looking to connect with their customers.

Tags:

ClickZ Live San Francisco This Year's Premier Digital Marketing Event is #CZLSF
ClickZ Live San Francisco (Aug 11-14) brings together the industry's leading practitioners and marketing strategists to deliver 4 days of educational sessions and training workshops. From Data-Driven Marketing to Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email, this year's comprehensive agenda will help you maximize your marketing efforts and ROI. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Tate

Kevin has been working with brands and retailers to build e-commerce and social media marketing solutions since 1995. As an entrepreneur and business development leader in growth-stage companies, he is most interested in developing new markets at the intersection of consumers, brands, and emerging technologies. Kevin currently leads marketing and product management at ShopIgniter, providers of Enterprise Social Commerce solutions to the F1000.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Social newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

BigDoor: The Marketers Guide to Customer Loyalty

The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

WEBINARS

Jobs

    • Internet Marketing Campaign Manager
      Internet Marketing Campaign Manager (Straight North, LLC) - Fort MillWe are looking for a talented Internet Marketing Campaign Manager to join the...
    • Online Marketing Coordinator
      Online Marketing Coordinator (NewMarket Health) - BaltimoreWant to learn marketing from the best minds in the business? NewMarket Health, a subsidiary...
    • Call Center Manager
      Call Center Manager (Common Sense Publishing) - Delray BeachWanted: Dynamic Call Center Manager with a Proven Track Record of Improving Response...