Written by Thanzyl Thajudeen on Wednesday 9th February 2011 at 1:17 pm
There is e-commerce, m-commerce which we all know – then, there is social commerce which I call it ‘S-commerce’. In today’s world, it’s all about going digital and particularly saying; it’s all about brands and organizations going social. I could see many organizations planning out a whole digital and social media strategic plan – and some even already kick starting social media strategies and policies – yet, just starting and being on those sites is not it – the challenge comes from triggering people from just the so called ‘likes’ and ‘tweets’ category to the ‘buy’ category.
I say this again and again – social media has completely changed ways how a person communicates and behaves – no matter what the age group is – it’s just not the kids and youngsters, as we know more of the older population has a very high interest in social media sites!. Many local organizations that are consumer-savvy as well as the big advertising agencies are just trying to be there; it’s not about being there, it’s not just about awareness per se – it’s all about marketers and brands challenging through the consideration, conversion, and loyalty and service stages of the client relationship through the usage of these social media tools such as Facebook and micro-blogging sites such as Twitter – and hundreds of other resources out there which you probably haven’t even heard of.
A recent report from Booz & Co, a global consultancy, stated that ‘the market for social commerce has been embryonic to date, but that will change over the next five years as companies race to establish stores’. The ‘likes’ of Facebook and the ‘tweets’ of Twitter, though it’s the most happening activity going on at present, will not be the most important activity for long so argues I as well as the report from Booz & Co. Consumers globally from just merely interacting with these sites will start transactions inside social networks—selecting products that suits according to their real time needs, adding and filling up shopping carts, and instant pay-outs through cards and other point or reward based systems– this is what I’m talking about – welcome to ‘S-commerce’.
Facebook vs. Twitter in s-commerce
For many out there, you may think it’s only Facebook that is much possible for s-commerce to be highly successful – but this is not it. Twitter, the micro blogging site as we all know, is also one of the most effective tools that can be used by businesses to sell of their products – this could be learnt by lessons from global organizations such as Dell for instance that made sales for a staggering $6.5m by just using it’s twitter feed – how cool is that! – Even AirTran Airways through to Apple’s ping uses Twitter techniques to actually not just engage – but also make the sale. For brands and organizations, it’s the Facebook challenge to convert ‘likes’ to ‘buy’ and Twitter’s ‘promoted tweets’ to ‘buy’. Currently these sites have many security and privacy issues (which you can notice) – but however it is said that these sites are working hard on overcoming these issues.
It’s time for our local organizations also to learn how a floral retailer, 1-800-Flowers, has a fully functional and interactive Facebook store by breaking out all the traditional channels – learn how it has integrated the online store purchasing directly into its Facebook fan page – making it simple for customers to shop without having to close Facebook or open a new window or tab on your PC. Get on your desk and do a search on this floral retailer – 1-800-Flowers, and I bet it will truly pay off. Simply saying, even if a floral retailer could do such a wonderful thing, why can’t the big boys?
Global S-commerce market size for physical goods
As stated previously, organizations are living in an ear where it is vital to integrate e-commerce into social media sites which is the new ground in the business world – some may argue no, but honestly – this is reality – it’s obvious to know that consumers spend time online more than ever before – ‘s-commerce’ is the new name for ‘sales representatives’.
A recent market size analysis done by four top research organizations namely Forrester Research, GP Bullhound, Euromonitor as well as Booz & Company estimates that dollar volume of hard physical goods such as electronic appliances, clothing and apparel; movie tickets and so on will hit a $30 billion mark by 2015 with a mark of $5 billion in 2011 (as shown in Diagram One). If physical goods market in s-commerce can reach this staggering amount in years to come – just think about the services industry – organizations in this sector can harvest billions out of s-commerce.
Shaping the marketing funnel; The new ground
Many organizations globally have now realized and are practicing the new marketing funnel model – it’s the new marketing age – it’s the only way in surviving the new ground. But local organizations are far behind this funnel – particularly saying, they have not yet even reached the top part of the funnel – which is brand awareness or presence – I hope some have already just started planning it. From branding and engagement through to sales, loyalty and measurement, the below model drawn out by Booz & Company says it all (as shown in Diagram Two).
Organizations working together with their internal communications department or with an advertising agency, as far as I see, is only trying to fill up the branding and content creation part where I hear the digital guys or the creative shots coming up with wonderful contents – this is just the beginning of the journey – you should not only consider this angel – if you have considered only this perspective, it means you have lost the whole big picture of why social media resources and tools exist for brands and organizations. Organizations need to see the big picture and plan accordingly taking into consideration from awareness to the whole customer experience which is engagement to purchasing decisions and loyalty measurement.
It’s in the hand of the marketers
Many marketers locally are way out of the real world – this is certainly true – I know they talk big about this and that – but I bet many of them have no clue or idea to the new ground in marketing. But I’m so glad to see there are a few modern marketers that are coming up in the corporate ladder – good to know it. Many of the local organizations are very ‘internal-savvy’ where I just see many marketers whom I call ‘9 to 5 marketers’ – this has to change, and yes I see change happening – but quite not yet.
Marketers are the new strategists or chief architects in today’s world – as we all know marketing is not just a function, it is a philosophy that needs to be practiced across every function and level, and overall, throughout all organizations and industry – integration is the only sustainable way to gain longer term market share and survival in the market place.
It’s time to get into the real game. It’s the marketers’ responsibility to take account of the whole new marketing funnel – why aren’t they doing this? Despite this, why going to workshops and training sessions to learn about them? Why not do some desk research, online tutorials, and watch some interesting videos in this new ground? We need to wake up to our senses!
Thanzyl Thajudeen is the youngest Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing globally, and is the Chief Executive of Mark & Comm Limited, a boutique strategic marketing, reputation and communications consultancy and think tank.
Tags: 1-800-Flowers, Booz & Co, commerce, Facebook, marketing funnel, social commerce, thanzyl, thanzyl thajudeen, Tweet
Made Wednesday, 9 of February , 2011 at 1:53 pm
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