MARINA DEL REY, Calif. – December 8th, 2008 – Helping online retailers thrive in an increasingly competitive environment, Guidance today unveiled a new white paper offering retailers insight into identifying which Web 2.0 and social technologies will keep customers coming back to their websites and spending money – and telling their friends to do the same.
Titled, “Social Commerce: The Essential Guide to Combining eCommerce + Social Networking,” the paper focuses the discussion on social capabilities integrated into eCommerce sites – bringing the social to the commerce – rather than the other way around, where online retailers target consumers on social networking sites. Some of those social and Web 2.0 features include user-generated product reviews, forums through which people can talk to each other, video product demonstrations and many others.
Jason Meugniot, Guidance co-owner and CEO and an author of the paper, said that while some retailers are blazing trails in this area, most are slow to act because they’re overwhelmed by an ever-evolving list of “must-have” features.
“There’s still a disconnect between the increasingly social experience consumers get almost everywhere online, versus what they encounter on most retail websites,” said Meugniot. “This is not about adding every new feature and function to a website – that would be overwhelming, expensive and ultimately not effective. This is about finding a way to truly connect with customers and, perhaps more important, enabling them to interact with each other. Retailers that understand and exceed consumer expectations will find it easier to thrive in this stormy financial climate. And, they’ll be better prepared for the robust recovery when it happens.”
Throughout the paper, Guidance retail and social commerce specialists discuss what’s possible and what’s actually happening in social commerce on retail websites today, what consumers expect from the online shopping experience, where those expectations come from and how retailers can and should respond.
“Many online retailers are still struggling with how to incorporate what we now consider to be ‘basics’ – like zoom and 360-degree product views – into their shopping sites,” said Jon Provisor, Guidance co-owner and CTO, and co-author of the paper. “Some are further along, offering social elements like user reviews and product ratings. But there’s plenty of room for growth for everyone.”
The white paper tackles some practical retailer concerns, like whether or not negative product reviews are bad for business (here’s a preview: they’re not). The paper closes with a glimpse into the future – and why what retailers do (or don’t do) today affects where they’ll be tomorrow.
A recent Guidance survey underscores the growing influence of social activity online: nearly 30 percent of consumers say the best way to learn about deals online is through social actions like link forwarding, peer comments or social sites. Just two years ago, social media wasn’t even considered a source of traffic by merchants.
Since 1993, Guidance (www.guidance.com) has helped companies seize opportunities and solve problems through the innovative and practical use of technology. Guidance designs, builds and maintains eCommerce websites for retailers that are pure-play online or multi-channel – creating captivating experiences so consumers will buy more, come back often and value greater engagement with the retailer. Guidance's systems facilitate $500 million in online sales every year. Members of the Guidance team are seasoned professionals, passionately committed to providing technical leadership and powering ingenuity. Key clients include Foot Locker, GEARYS Beverly Hills, Relax the Back, Salvation Army, and many others. Partners include: Microsoft, AspDotNetStorefront, Mediachase and Telligent. Guidance is based in Marina del Rey, Calif.
Media Contact for Guidance
Director, PR & Marketing
Phone: (310) 754-3895