Tuesday Mar 26, 2013
Tuesday Dec 11, 2012
By David Dorf on Dec 11, 2012
I've mentioned in the past that Oracle has invested quite a bit in acquiring social companies to build out its Social Relationship Management suite. The concept is to shift away from transactions and towards engagement. Social media represents a great opportunity to engage with customers, learn what they want, and personalize the shopping experience for them.
I look at SRM as the bridge between traditional CRM and CX. If you're looking for ideas, check out Five Social Retailing Suggestions and Social Analytics and the Customer. There are lots of ways to leverage social media to enhance the customer experience and thus drive more sales.
My friends over at 8th Bridge have just released their Social IQ report in which they rate retailers on their social capabilities. They also produced a nice infographic so you can consume the data quickly, but I'd still encourage you to download the full report.
Retailers interested in upping their SRM abilities should definitely stop by the Oracle booth at NRF in January.
Tuesday Jul 03, 2012
Tuesday Jun 12, 2012
Wednesday Apr 25, 2012
Thursday Apr 19, 2012
By David Dorf on Apr 19, 2012
Upcoming webinar that may be of interest...
Complimentary Webinar organized by Oracle Retail and Spigit
DATE: Wednesday, April 25th
Point, click, share, compare and buy all from the palm of your hand – in store and online. Sounds fabulous for consumers, but Retailers will have their hands full as social channels continue to redefine the rules of engagement. This Webinar will bring you new insights on how to avoid common pitfalls in social retail and make the leap to fully realize the value of seamless customer engagement.
Join David Dorf, Sr. Director of Technology Strategy, Oracle; James Gardner, Chief Strategy Officer, Spigit and Adam Metz, author of #1 Amazon Best-Seller (internet marketing, customer service) The Social Customer, as they discuss:
Attendees will learn:
Monday Feb 20, 2012
By David Dorf on Feb 20, 2012
Bloomberg is reporting that Gamestop, JCPenney, and Nordstrom have all closed their Facebook stores. That's not the best timing with Facebook's IPO just over the horizon, but I don't think this should really be news to astute retailers. Duplicating an e-commerce store within Facebook doesn't really offer a different experience, and Facebook users are used to punching out to the Web for all sorts of things. By simply putting a store on Facebook, retailers have missed the point of F-commerce.
In my mind at least, F-commerce should be more about the social aspects of shopping leading up to a purchase, not the actual purchase itself. You're not going to get much more convenient than today's Web stores, so efforts should not be focused there. Instead, focus on ways to move the water-cooler conversations about products to Facebook where its easier to influence people into acting on those conversations.
If you've ever seen me talk about the topic, I usually show a slide depicting three approaches to F-commerce. There's the "tab store", which is how 1-800-Flowers first approached Facebook. Then there's the "wall store," which is best represented by JCPenney and ASOS in the UK. And finally there's the "newsfeed store," which has been successful for stores like The Limited. The newsfeed store highlights a couple products or promotions within the newsfeed, alongside the conversations with all your friends. It capitalizes on the social aspects of Facebook, and doesn't try to duplicate an entire Web store.
My friend Wade Gerten, CEO of 8th Bridge, said of stores within Facebook, “it was basically just another place to shop for all the stuff already available on the retailer websites. I give so-called F-commerce an ‘F.’”
I want to be clear that I'm not criticizing these retailers for their efforts. They did exactly what innovative leaders should be doing: experiment, and if it doesn't work then cut the cord quickly. Now that lessons have been learned, its time to move on and capitalize on the knowledge gained.
Retailers should continue to use Facebook to communicate with consumers and drive them to stores and e-commerce. As always, the best results come from managing all the channels together in a unified way, leveraging the best aspects of each without needless duplication.
Tuesday Jan 31, 2012
By David Dorf on Jan 31, 2012
As we create more and more digital information, it becomes harder to find exactly what we're looking for. Google has done a fantastic job of enabling search, but it still takes work to comb through the matching results to find the right answer. And if you're not really sure what you're looking for, Google is probably not the right tool.
If you're looking for products, choosing your favorite retailer's site is a good start. There, you can browse using facets to figure out options. Retailers will often group items together, as if they were designing a store window, to show related items together. However, that approach may be difficult to scale. A better approach might be to allow customers to do the curating themselves. This is not unlike the crowd-sourcing I described in this post about Polyvore.
The latest in curated commerce is Pinterest, a site that let's people "pin" interesting things they find online to thematic "bulletin boards." When those interesting things are products, its possible to make browsing the collections seem like shopping in a boutique. This helps consumers discover and share, which in turn elevates sales.
According to Mashable, Pinterest is becoming a significant referrer to retailer sites, especially fashion ones. With 7.5M users, 58% of which are women, this trend is expected to continue.
This is yet another consideration for any retailer's social strategy.
Wednesday Jan 11, 2012
Tuesday Jun 14, 2011
By David Dorf on Jun 14, 2011
Father's Day is coming, and if you're in the UK you can surf to the Marks & Spencer Facebook page to get some gift ideas. There, Zibaba has created a storefront showing lots of products appropriate for dads. You can browse the products and "like" the ones that stand out. If you click on the "shop now" button, you'll be taken the product page on the Marks & Spencer e-commerce site.
It seems the page can be easily updated for future events, so Father's Day is probably just the beginning. Although Zibaba claims to handle orders, M&S decided to send the customer to their e-commerce site to add the product to the cart. I guess this reduces the need for integration, and also allows the customer to purchase additional products not shown on the Facebook page.
I'm just not sure their 300,000 fans will really use the page. Recreating a shopping page within Facebook just doesn't seem to attract shoppers. If you want to catch up with friends, visit Facebook; if you want to shop online, visit e-commerce sites. The best way to engage shoppers in a social setting is to post to their walls. Even when I liked a product on the M&S page, I didn't see anything in my newsfeed.
Facebook isn't a place for shopping -- its a place for conversations. And yes, some of the conversations can be about shopping, but that is better suited for the newsfeed. I just don't think M&S hit the mark with their Facebook page, but I guess time will tell.
Tuesday May 24, 2011
By David Dorf on May 24, 2011
Although the term "news feed optimization" has been around since 2007, I didn't realize its importance until talking with Wade Gerten of 8th Bridge. Getting people to Like your brand is only the first step. Next the brand must leverage that relationship, typically via the news feed. But without some work, those fans will never see what's posted in their news feed. That's where news feed optimization comes in. NFO is to Facebook as SEO is to Google.
You'll notice at the top of your Facebook page there are two choices for your news feed: Top News and Most Recent, with Top News being the default. Facebook uses a secret ranking system, called EdgeRank, to determine which stories belong in your Top News, and of course many people have attempted to reserve engineer the algorithm.
While the exact algorithm is not known, Facebook has shared the basics of EdgeRank, the algorithm behind Top News. For any story, there are three things that determine its score: affinity, weight, and recency. The affinity is based on the closeness of the reader and the poster. Every time you like or comment on an item, that increases your affinity with that item and/or person. So if you comment on Bob's postings a lot, Bob's postings will score higher and be more likely to show on your news feed.
Posting types are weighted differently based on their level of engagement. Photos tend to be weighted higher than shared links or status updates because they have a higher engagement. Ever wonder why Coke posts tons of images? Things that have more comments are weighted higher than things with lots of Likes. It takes more time to read a comment, and thus the engagement level is higher.
Of course no one wants a stale news feed, so as postings age their rank decreases. But something that has very high engagement may linger on your news feed as people continue to comment, for example.
Just as retailers have learned how to manipulate PageRank to move up in Google search, they need to also think about EdgeRank so their social media efforts in Facebook pay off. That means using more images, getting fans to engage with comments and not just Likes, and keeping the posting fresh and relevant.
Monday May 16, 2011
David Dorf, Sr Director Technology Strategy for Oracle Retail, shares news and ideas about the retail industry with a focus on innovation and emerging technologies.