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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

An intricate web: Live, Work, Spend online

The world is increasingly shrinking because of the internet and its reach. More people are being caught in its web, and across all countries and demographics. As these two Pew Research Center's tables show that a lot of the generations are now online for more services than ever before.

There is even a lot of overlapping happening between what grandparents are browsing and what their grandchildren are doing online. Such is the power of the web. With a lot of our work being conducted via this medium, our shopping is also going online and ofcourse our personal life history is already being displayed on forums like Facebook, Orkut and Myspace anyway.

Whether it is about being in a well 'networked' organisation or networking well with your customers - it is all happening in real-time, and people/organisations who don't realise this are going to be left far behind.

A McKinsey report states that "our data show that fully networked enterprises are not only more likely to be market leaders or to be gaining market share but also use management practices that lead to margins higher than those of companies using the Web in more limited ways."

Even a Bazaarvoice report called 'Social Commerce Trends' says that companies should play three main roles to facilitate conversations, and use the feedback to improve on their products. Here are those three roles:
1. Be like a parent. Parents have commitment, perspective and give guidance. Try new things, learn, and realize that today is just one step in your evolution. Look at results as a moment in time. Focus on gathering data and content from your users.

2. Be a good host. Make it easy for your “guests” (consumers) to share their opinions and meet others like them. Keep them engaged, which will bring more people to the “party” (your site). When you facilitate conversations online, you’ll help people make good purchase decisions, creating an asset that builds over time. This is different than what most traditional marketing does; you’re engaging people to help themselves and others.

3. Be a prospector. Look for gold. Start with the basic, business-driving metrics such as number of site visits driven by user-generated content, sales conversion, and average order value. Then use customer participation to go beyond your site – ask for customer stories via Facebook, or put ratings information on in-store fact tags. Spread this content to shoppers wherever they are, to help them regardless of where and how they shop. This is where true transformation occurs – beyond the walls of your online community.

The report quotes Sameer Samat, Google's Product Management Director as saying "that brands should also experiment with mobile to let consumers search for and find specific information, whether they’re in a store or on the road. Google has seen an exponential jump in Google shopping queries from mobile devices."

Social media has made it possible for people to come closer to the brands that they care for - not only to the front-end salespeople but also the designers of products, who now often incorporate suggestions and feedback into their new range - like Best Buy and Dell does.

Google's finger is very much on the technology pulse and in most cases, it sets the trend of what's cool and what's not. Samat has said that the three industry trends that defines Google's strategy are: online-to-store shopping, mobile and social. So watch out for more exciting platforms and social tools that will come our way, to make working, spending and living our lives on the internet, more enticing.

For details, see the reports mentioned in the post:


Vidyanand said...

Very well researched .The three keywords that stand out from your post are:online .mobile and social .I agree on all the three .Thank you

Anonymous said...

Conseils tres interessants. A quand la suite?

Manali said...

The french comment needs translating and it literally means 'bargain tips, when is the next?'. I'm guessing the writer wants to know when I'm going to be posting other stuff on my blog - well next month for sure!