Monday, 4 October 2010

Facebook Connect & Social Commerce – examples from the consumer world

Mark Zukerberg, CEO of Facebook first talked about Social Graph at the Facebook f8 conference in May 2007. Since then Facebook has quietly extended across the web, in the first instance, embedding Facebook Connect and the Facebook “Like” button into consumer web sites.

I logged onto the other day with Facebook Connect and it’s hard not to be impressed with the depth of Amazon’s integration into Facebook. When I logged onto the site, I gave Amazon access to my Facebook profile, from which Amazon picked up my favourite books, CDs and movies (supplementing their knowledge of my previous purchases to improve the recommendations they presented to me). I could also see what my friends had liked on the site and see recommendations from them. In addition, Amazon picked up the dates of my friend’s birthdays and gave me ideas for birthday presents to buy for them. Scary? Big brother? Maybe... However, is certainly one of the early examples of social commerce in action.

Similarly, on holiday last month I noticed that Tripadvisor had caught the Facebook Connect-bug. By logging in with Facebook connect I could see which cities my Facebook friends had visited, post questions to my friends, asking them to recommend a hotel or restaurant and update my own traveller profile to give back to the community. In effect I could leverage 2 networks – my direct friends and the wider, unknown peer community.

The consumer world, unsurprisingly, is currently leading the way in Social Commerce. Here are just a few other examples of social commerce in action:

Dominos Pizza offer each “Major of Foursqure” in their local branches with a free pizza each week when they spend over £10., the Canadian arm of Best Buy, use a video avatar called Aaron to answer questions based on knowledge summated by other customers on their Lithium customer forum. allows users to post status updates of TV content they have downloaded to Twitter and Facebook (e.g. Laurence has just downloaded “Top Gear” and rated it 8/10). They also crowd-source recommendations using Baynote e.g. “people who liked Top Gear also liked Fifth Gear”).

Levis launched a Facebook friends store on their US site, allowing users to view what jeans were popular amongst their friends.

Sephora set up a Beautytalk forum for their customers to exchange beauty tips. Customers can watch YouTube videos of how to best use their products, rate advice, vote on their favourite products and post questions to the community.

Of course this space is emerging at great speed. The examples above are accurate today, but most likely out of date tomorrow. It will be interesting to see how they evolve and how the two worlds of social collaboration and privacy collide.

If you’re interested in social commerce, Altimeter Group are hosting a conference on The Rise of Social Commerce on October 6-7th.

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The Customer Revolution Blog by Laurence Buchanan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
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