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Sunday, April 1, 2012

ECommerce - Social Buying

E Commerce has been around for quite a while now and as technology continues to evolve, terms such as M commerce and Social commerce start to emerge as mentioned in the articles for this week. Ever since EBay and Amazon emerged, internet shopping has become popular. Consumers are now a click away from things and purchasing items without going to a brick and mortar shop as been made much easier. Due to this trend of E Commerce, many other companies have also join this arena as they realize how profitable it can be, retails manufacturing etc...

3 companies come to mind when I think about Social Buying - Opensky, LikeBids and myTab

Opensky - Twitter for curated shopping . Opensky is a shopping site that is curated by the tastemakers that individual users “follow.” It provides a customizable online shopping experience. When users sign up, they can chose from a list of about 60 tastemakers to “follow,” including celebrities such as Molly Sims, Padma Lakshmi, Kristin Cavallari, Bobby Flay and Tom Colicchio. Each tastemaker chooses products to recommend to followers and writes a short explanation of why each item was chosen. He or she runs a special on about one item a week that gives followers a 20% to 60% discount on the item. Since launching in April 2011, OpenSky says that it has grown 50% month over month. The site has about 1 million users, and  The startup announced a $30 million round of funding back in October 2011 , bringing its total amount to $49 million. 

I like the idea of Opensky as it is a Groupon + Twitter  combined together. People trust recommendations from people they know or believe to have some sort of social capital and Opensky represents that. I believe that this new trend of recommendation based buying is going to increase in the next 5 years and more companies will start to integrate this trend into the way they do business. Amazon for instance should be releasing soon a function called "what friends are buying". This captures the essence of integrating social into E commerce.

LikeBids - Likebids distribute coupons through facebook. LikeBids users win coupons by Liking them and encouraging others to do so. When a threshold number of Likes are reached, a coupon is emailed to everyone who clicked.The advantage of distributing coupons this way is that even participants who aren’t particularly excited to spread the word about a discount end up doing so anyway. When they Like the coupon, it’s automatically posted on their wall and friends’ feeds.LikeBids has also built in a motivation for users who are excited to spread the word. Each coupon has a price attached to it for the person who motivates the most people to Like it by sharing a unique URL. Right now LikeBids’ offerings are pretty sparse, but the startup has set up a situation that encourages users to promote brands to their friends. If those users indeed appear, that’s an appealing proposition.

E commerce is still growing quickly since it first started. I believe that there is a huge potential for E commerce to be even greater than what it is right now, it's just a matter of finding the right idea for the right product.

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