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(Conference presentation as reviewed Greg Williams of Wired UK http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-07/15/frontiers-of-interaction)
Is Groupon really an exemplar of social shopping? This was the contention of Lynn Teo, the Creative Director and Head of User Experience at AKQA. Her belief is that Groupon, while collaborative, isn't truly social as the site doesn't require interaction between consumers.
True social commerce is about bringing shopping to where people connect and connecting people who shop, Teo argued, and shared some insights from recent research she has conducted into what social shopping best practice looks like.
Consumers are looking for fun when they're shopping for clothes, and ecommerce sites should strive to prolong that experience by giving consumers a reason to hang around. Teo cited Polyvore, a fashion etailer, as an example of a company that offers customers ways of interacting through pulling looks together and creating moodboards that can be shared socially.
Users also looking for a sense of belonging -- people buying fashion online want to find others who share their taste. Polyvore locates others who have similar style, creating a secondary storefront where users effectively hang out and interact. And, just as in the real world where people visit stores to relax, many people shop online for stress-relief; acknowledging this, French Connection launched a YouTube channel that integrates a shopping experience with video. YouTube's annotation feature allows viewers of the video, which features a stylist offering fashion tips, to click through to a product page to make a purchase.
The core element to driving sales is content generation: etailers must build compelling, immersive ways, to engage customers and allow them to personalise, post and create. And users should be offered incentives if they make relevant contributions; for instance, if they post a link and a friend clicks through and makes a purchase then there. As with so much of the web, successful social commerce will rely on quality, trustworthy information and ways of engaging users beyond browsing.