Turn social chatter into sales

Fast Company Magazine has a great article on a new start up that is looking to turn Social Media chatter into hard ROI –

Read the original post here.

In the article, the author talks about the work of Sociable Labs and their new product for e-commerce sites.  The product allows consumers to recommend a site or product to friends.

The San Mateo, California, startup offers a suite of social applications that can be incorporated right on a retailer’s e-commerce site. The main thing Sociable does, founder Nisan Gabbay tells Fast Company, is to help retailers focus on maximizing sales through social media, not just buzz-building. This can happen more effectively, Gabbay says, if a business gets out of the way of conversations between friends, which are happening on Facbeook (and elsewhere).

I think this could be something cool as it takes the third party (i.e.: Facebook) out of the picture which allows real conversations between people to happen, not just a shout out on a ‘wall’ or ‘timeline’.  It also, and this is more important in my opinion, allows the efforts to be measured, compared, and evaluated.  A must have piece of the social media storm that has been missing so far.

What do you think?  Would you tell your friends about a product or site you’ve found using this method?

From the “should be obvious” department…

Free shipping offers can lead to more holiday sales – Internet Retailer.

I appreciate the headline, but there is a telling quote in the article:

More than half of all transactions (in the 2010 Holiday Season) included free shipping…

That’s pretty cool.  I can’t tell if I’m surprised that the number is this high or this low. (I wonder how they account for Amazon.com Prime sales?)

The article also includes some good suggestions from Forrester to increase on line sales even further.

You don’t have a plan

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the first point from the prior post :

1. You don’t have a plan.

If you want to accomplish anything, including getting your product on the shelf at retail, you need to have a plan.  The plan can be simple or complex, detailed or generic, but it has to exist, and you have to use and reference it!  

A plan to get a product to retail could be as simple as answering the following questions:

  • Do you have manufacturing, packaging, and landed cost of goods figured out?
  • Know what retailers you want to sell to – what types of stores do you want your product in?  Cell phone channel? Consumer Electronics? Mass Merchants?
  • What are the requirements for those channels?  Margin, MDF, Co-op, Returns, etc?   You need to know if your margins will let you play in the above channels.
  • How are you going to get in front of the buyers for those channels?  Are you hiring internal sales people?  Are you using a distributor?  Independent reps?
  • How are you going to ship the product?  Will you establish your own warehouse?  Outsource with a 3PL?  or use distribution exclusively?
These questions alone could be enough to generate a plan of attack – a place to start from, to base your launch into retail from.  It should be referred to, modified, expanded, and used.If you don’t use it, you might as well not even spend the time putting it together.

And then there was Amazon.com

Wow, HP throws in the towel, Samsung is flaming out, RIM is RIP… you could say that change is afoot.

Everyone is talking about who will challenge Apple now – what company will emerge to offer an iPad challenger, or a MacBook Air Challenger.

They miss the point.

If you want to challenge Apple, then ignore Apple.

No one challenged Apple to get them to this position, except for Apple…  

They focused on what they wanted to do, what they felt was the best combination of features, software, use case, and delivery.

Turns out that what they focused on was what we all wanted.  We just didn’t know it until it was presented to us.

You could say that they lived the passion they felt inside.

So, if you want to challenge Apple, then ignore Apple.  Instead, focus on your passion.  Give the world what it doesn’t already have, show us your vision.

Like Amazon.com.

Their focus on books created the e-book reader market and allowed the e-book format to flourish.

Sorta like Apple, the iPod and iTunes…

Can Amazon.com challenge Apple?  Who cares?  The interesting question, and the only one that ultimately matters is:  Can Amazon.com challenge itself?

I look forward to seeing what a singular focus on passion will bring forth for products this fall from both Amazon.com and from Apple.