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If you are a retailer or business owner I thought you’d be interested in this interview and article from E-Markerter-      

Denise Zimmerman, president and chief strategy officer of NetPlus Marketing Inc., has spent the past 18 years of her career focusing on the emerging digital landscape and best practice applications in marketing, advertising and communications. She talks to eMarketer about the different forms social commerce takes and how retailers can understand it.

eMarketer: Why do people like to follow a brand on its Facebook fan page?

Denise Zimmerman: That answer depends on the retailer you’re talking about and how they use the platform. This is an interesting challenge for retailers, too. Because of the kind of communications and messaging you’re talking about, social media demands a very intense, thoughtful plan and approach in terms of what we call brand.

And not all of them have been good at this. I think Best Buy kind of breaks the mold. Zappos certainly does. Target does. Some of your larger retailers understand and cultivate their brand, and they can tell you what their brand is. But there are a whole host of them whose marketing, for the most part, historically has reflected commodity-type marketing—price promotion and very DM-focused—which is why they initially really latched onto affiliate marketing, search marketing, pay-for-performance type stuff. But when you’re out there in terms of communicating on these sorts of platforms, you really have to consider what is your brand. Your brand could be about price.

eMarketer: How much social commerce actually takes place on Facebook?

 

“If you successfully connect and make shopping valuable to the community in a way that’s easy and accessible and meets their needs, it’s a no-brainer.”

Ms. Zimmerman: I know that just when I’m out there and I regularly check what’s going on, I connect to a lot of these folks myself. I think it’s a natural evolution. Maybe I’m biased, but I don’t think so. If you successfully connect and make shopping valuable to the community in a way that’s easy and accessible and meets their needs, it’s a no-brainer.

eMarketer: Retail Websites are offering more and more social shopping features such as Facebook Connect. Do such features pose a competitive threat to social shopping sites or do they complement each other?

Ms. Zimmerman: I think they sort of complement each other. When we develop what we call a socially enabled Website, we don’t even like to call it a Website. We call it a social hub, which is really an evolution of the Website experience. So it should be really an experiential extension of the brand or of the retailer. When somebody goes to your Website, what they experience there should be reflective of the brand and however that expresses itself in terms of functionality, design, features and all that sort of thing.

 

“The social aspect is really an evolution of the brand experience.”

I think the social aspect is really an evolution of the brand experience. The big question from a very, very tactical perspective is the level of investment in terms of the technology, in terms of how you want to really enable your site: What’s going to really enhance that experience and furthermore what’s going to ultimately drive the sale?

The priority of a retailer is to focus on enhancing that shopping experience in how it actually influences the purchase. And there might be some community aspects to that. This comes down to really understanding your customers, understanding their shopping behavior, understanding what they want, understanding how they’re currently interacting with your site, understanding where your sales are coming from.

 

 

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