In a session at this week's Shop.org 2010 Annual Summit in Dallas, Doug Mack, CEO of the private online sales site One Kings Lane, and Kelly Mooney, president and chief experience officer at the digital marketing agency Resource Interactive, teamed up to discuss 10 innovative concepts currently being deployed by retailers to help them increase marketing effectiveness, enhance customer experiences and harness social commerce. Both presenters offered pros and cons on the concepts, and the audience weighed in as well via their mobile phones.
Here are the first five of the 10 concepts discussed, along with Mack and Mooney's takes on them:
1. Crowdsourcing. Mack discussed how outdoor goods e-retailer Backcountry.com uses the the concept of crowdsourcing — i.e., gathering comments about its brand and the brands it sells, and using that content as a merchandising tool. Backcountry.com offers paid social hubs to manufacturers that sell via the site so they can associate their goods with content uploaded by the Backcountry.com user community.
Mack's take: "As a website targeted to passionate consumers — outdoor enthusiasts — the concept works well. But if you're selling a more commoditized product, not so much."
Mooney's take: "This is an innovative, low-cost merchandising solution for the manufacturers, so I give it a thumbs up. But it's not real a showcase for the brand."
2. Interactive shopping. Next, Mack discussed how apparel and accessories specialty retailer Wet Seal has a real-time, interactive social shopping application on its site that enables visitors to instantly send an invitation to their friends on Facebook, AIM, Bebo and ICQ to shop together on the site. Friends browse together with an unobstructed same view, while they scroll, navigate and mark up the pages in a synchronized shopping experience. The technology platform is designed to break down one of the biggest barriers for online retailing — the inability for shoppers to quickly and easily get opinions from friends and family on potential purchases.
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