Social Skills


Just because a company opens a Twitter account doesn’t mean it knows how to wield the mighty sword of social media—free KFC Grilled Chicken, anyone? For their latest report, “Rise of Social Commerce,” the Altimeter Group digital strategy consultancy surveyed the social media efforts of 123 major companies, and cited Amazon, Best Buy, Dell, Hallmark and Starbucks amongst the brands that have a clue.

Altimeter describes social commerce as “a new channel, and a new way to influence shoppers…enhanced through e-commerce and m-commerce convergence.” The report cites four specific phases of social commerce development, which Media Post breaks down nicely:

  • “Let’s Be Social” where programs are launched to drive brand advocacy and boost market share.
  • “Enlightened Engagement,” when e-commerce is connected to social platforms to influence influencers.
  • “Store of the Community,” where fans drive product selection and services via social networks.
  • “Frictionless Commerce,” when brands redesign the shopping experience across channels and categories to create a truly customer-centric offering.[more]

Facebook’s “Like” button, now embedded in as many as 2 million sites, is noted as a prime tool of the Enlightened Engagement phase, while the Shopkick app from Best Buy, which allows users to earn and redeem points for purchases and scan items in-store for product details, provides a good example of Frictionless Commerce.

Altimeter posits that gaming, couponing, mapping technology, and 2-D tags will thrust social commerce into full gear. Their advice to businesses: “Build more near real-time and accurate process for inventory management, transparency of quality information, and return policies into your operations.”