Last week I participated in two roundtable discussions at the PluggedIn Ventures Summit on Ecommerce.(There were lots of interesting tweets during the summit – search for the #pisummit hashtag). When the issue of Facebook for commerce (or F-Commerce) came up on the Social Commerce panel, I pointed to JC Penney’s new Facebook app store as an example of what’s wrong with F-Commerce. In this post I’ll expand a bit more on why I think that’s the case, and what that means to retailers looking to understand how Facebook fits broadly into their multi-channel strategy.
During the initial roundtable of the day, the discussion turned to Facebook, and its role as the new portal:
While I can understand the impulse to draw parallels between the role AOL held for many (especially media) companies in the early days of the (commercial) internet, I think we’ve got to be careful to not miss the lesson the portals never properly learned: on the web, everything else is always one click (or one tab, or one window) away.
#pisummit People spend time in FB, but they also have 10 other tabs and windows open – portal isn’t the window through which I view the web
In other words, Facebook may be the new portal, but does the concept of a portal even make sense in a world of multi-tabbed browsers, multi-tasking users, and multi-device access? If there ever was a world in which a portal could truly be the user’s starting point and the window through which that user viewed everything on the web (already a questionable claim), that day has long passed. Many web users spend significant amounts of time “on” or “in” Facebook, true, but what else are they doing at the same time?
The question becomes more than just academic when you come at it as a large scale retailer trying to create a strategy for Facebook. Read more…
When I got the above email from Sears inviting me into a new social shopping experience, I hoped that they’d found a way to combine MySears and Sears.com together more contextually and pervasively, letting me move easily between the “get advice before you buy” approach of MySears.com (with its action verbs being join, explore, and connect) and the shopping focused Sears.com.
They haven’t, but what they have done is introduce more social functionality into the shop. Visit sears.com and in the utility navigation right underneath the multi-brand bar (Sears, Kmart, Crafstman, Kenmore, Lands End, etc) you should see an option which toggles between “visit our social site” and “leave our social site.” Clicking on “visit our social site” and you’re greated with this splash screen explaining the new experience: Read more…
Building on the momentum of all the (OpenSocial based) applications they added a few weeks back, LinkedIn is now rolling out events. In this video, Christine Wodtke demonstrates how the application leverages your social graph, showing who in your network is attending various events:
I think it’s a very useful concept, pointing out that people’s decisions aren’t binary: it isn’t a single yes/no decision but an active, ongoing negotiation, which determines which services you use and don’t use.
You can also think about the barrier to entry of a new user in a similar fashion. Any time you try out a new application or service there are a few barriers, and whatever the application developer can do to lower those barriers the more users will get over that threshold. Read more…