Forrester’s article very recently published, Social Media Still Very Nascent – Adoption And Adaptation Challenges For Organizations, is so true. When I look at e-commerce today from the perspective of Social Media, the opportunity is infinite and not just restricted to a page as the only engagement mode for update, offers & review. In this era of Social Media or Web 2.0, out-of-the-box thinking has no limits, with the option what Google +, Facebook or Twitter could throw with their new Application Programming Interface and the new features which they introduce, make it only more favorable for the marketer to explore, expedite & experience.
The well-known fact on engaging with consumers is co-exist where they are, imbibe in their activity & feeds, associate with their community and groups. Today, there are many leading ERP companies which build their platforms in the CRM area using the essence of social media, popularly known as Social CRM, these can track customers on social media or in simpler terms they are very synonymous to Social Media Monitoring. However, this is too narrow an interpretation, as Social CRM also includes customer communities managed by the organization themselves.
While I was looking for Social Media Platforms used in e-commerce, I came across a technology ‘commerce edge’ of Infosys, which is a Social Commerce Platform, on SaaS model and delivers, what could be the differentiation among the competition. This could be just a start in exploring social media from creation of buzz to inducing buy through new ways of group gifting, co-shopping, Interacting with your friend to review product and so on. Basically, drifting the shopping experience more towards the real world. Countries where the myths overrule the benefits of e-commerce, these technologies come as a boon in changing the perception, and also acting as a double-edged sword with the benefit loaded messaging in campaigns as the value proposition. The other way to think about this would be enhancing the opportunity base by creating new access for new set of shoppers.
The other technology, which dives deep in making the e-commerce closer to the real world is Augmented Reality. Augmented reality (AR) is a term for a live direct or an indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. By contrast, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one.(Source – Augmented Reality on Freebase, licensed under CC-BY ).
As mobile devices today are going through a phase of invention, innovation & induction, shoppers’ buying behavior is varying through the process of adoption & adaptation. Today the brands are just not restricted to brick & mortar modes of advertisement to reach the consumers, thanks to the mobile devices becoming smarter, sleeker, handy and a personal device, facilitating insights at the finger tips, making them dependent on their favorite application to move them through the decision value chain. This is where Augmented Reality, plays it’s trick, enabling shopper to visualize, evaluate & decide on to the options.
With this technology, a shopper could use his/ her mobile device to visualize his product under evaluation on to him/her (in case of Apparel) or on wall (in case of display) or on floor (in case of furniture) and so on. This would not only bring in the conviction but could add an edge over the real world in case of products like consumer durable, furniture, display pieces and so on.
Augmented Reality & Social Media is a big boon to the e-commerce world in bringing in the real world experience.
A Video on Augmented Reality