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Social Commerce: Where Do We Go From Here?

Social Commerce is one of those terms you wouldn’t have found in the encyclopedia a few years ago but it’s currently one of the hottest concepts in online marketing.

Useful Social Media has put together a fun and informative infographic showing the history of social commerce beginning with virtual gift sales on Facebook in 2007.

Here’s a small piece of the large chart:

I love the 32% of people who said they’d shop right from Twitter if they could. Count me in, too!

So where do we go from here? Sudha Jamthe, the Social Media Strategist, Social Commerce for Ebay, says we should be on the look out for three “game changers” in the coming year.

First, the gamification of social.

This is a concept we’ve talked about before and it’s growing stronger than ever thanks to mobile apps. It’s all about roping in that consumer with an entertaining product that will keep them engaged over a long period of time. A consumer might watch a 3-minute video once, but they’ll play Angry Birds for hours, returning day after day to play again and again. Last year, statistics showed that globally, Angry Birds ate up 200 million minutes a day. That’s what you call sticky.

Now imagine those birds flying by a company logo, over and over, and over. That’s brand awareness to the nth degree.

Second on the list is “social shopping scaling up inside Facebook with marketplaces and malls.”

This is a tricky one, mostly due to security and payment issues. People just aren’t ready to go shopping inside Facebook. They don’t trust the site with their personal data, they aren’t going to trust it with their credit card numbers.

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Finally, says Jamthe, “A lot of experimentation with social data to learn customer’s intent to purchase to drive to better merchandising and facilitating shopping.”

Experimentation is key. We simply don’t have enough data to say for sure what will work and what won’t. We do know that recommendations from friends make a difference. We know that humor helps things go viral. We know that as much as people complain about privacy, they gravitate toward personalization.

What we’re still working on is how we can use the unique abilities of a tablet to create an exciting, new shopping experience. How we can use our mobile phone to pay for lunch. And yes, how to get people to shop through Twitter.

After that, it’s onward to things we can’t even imagine at the moment. How cool is that?