Day 2 recap of Rise of Social Commerce #RSC10

by Christine Tran

On Thursday, we wrapped up our Rise of Social Commerce event, which culminated many months of planning and hard work at Altimeter Group, and an exciting year of developments in social commerce.

You can now download speaker presentations from our event site, as well as watch video clips on Ustream. (These will continue to be updated.)

Here are my favorite take-aways from Day 2 of our event:

  • Pete Blackshaw of Nielsen Online kicked off the day with an outstanding presentation on the future of mobility (video clip here). He reminded us that social commerce is “all about the boring basics,” or building customer loyalty and referrals but using the social web to take it to the next level.  What I found most interesting about his presentation was a slide on customer channel preferences – for example, customers use email to complain 97% of the time, or post to the company’s Facebook page when making recommendations 47% of the time. Pete also suggested that companies examine their “viral drivers.” In retail, customers talk about staff attitude and knowledge. In banking, banking and payment are important. In electronics, its customer support.  Ask yourself what are the top drivers of conversation in your industry, and reverse engineer that. Essentially, develop your social strategy program based on data, not “hunches.”
  • Camille Lauer of Hallmark offered attendees a refreshing look at the nuts and bolts of their program, and the experimentation necessary to advance the social commerce frontier (video clip here). Hallmark’s social marketing and commerce efforts include: 1) A card creation contest program which has received more than 28,000 submissions over 16 contests.  Four staff judge submissions and get winning cards into appropriate model lines. 2) Their social calendar on Facebook has over 1.3 million monthly active users. 3) A Facebook store tab (available soon, though I blogged about it here.) which gives fans the ability to purchase personalized cards. Customers choose a card, add a personalized message – Hallmark takes care of the rest, including postage.
  • Susan Etlinger posed an interesting question to our retail panel (see video clip here), which was comprised of traditional retailers Wet Seal and Sephora, and start up sites Kaboodle and ModCloth: Can large, traditional retailers sustain the engagement required to build and nurture online communities? To which, Bridget Dolan of Sephora had a great answer: It’s not unsustainable, it’s inevitable – customer interaction is the new marketing. I also liked how Bridget referred to the in-store experience as a “big CandyLand,” and her suggestion that the mobile web provides an opportunity to direct targeted messages to customers in the store.  This convergence of the online and in-store experience – through the mobile web – will be the bridge between “clicks and bricks.”
  • To close, Partners Marcia Conner and Charlene Li led sessions on preparing the organization for social commerce (see video clip here).  Companies are eager to jump into the social web, for marketing, for PR, for support, for commerce.  Yet many need to first align internal processes, policies, roles, and systems; and ensure internal stakeholders have the appropriate mindset through leadership and ongoing guidance. In particular, Charlene talked about creating and applying a “sandbox covenant”:  leadership must determine the size of the “sandbox,” and then define the walls of that sandbox with employees, customers, and partners.

Finally, let me leave you with a few choice “last words” – advice from individuals who are pioneering social commerce:

  • Bridget Dolan, Sephora:  Think about how to connect all your digital and social touch points to create a holistic experience for the customer.
  • Shari Gunn, Kaboodle: Do a lot of testing. Test different opportunities, and different platforms.
  • Adil Wali, ModCloth: Humanize your brand. Our growth is directly tied to both HR and Marketing – our employees are the voice of the brand.
  • Jon Kubo, Wet Seal: Ask yourself if your efforts are just another social marketing campaign, or if it’s a sustainable activity, interaction, feature, etc. that will transform the customer experience.

There were many more great speakers and sessions which I haven’t recapped here, so be sure to check back on our site later for more presentations and videos.

I also want to thank our sponsors for their generous support: Alvenda, Ustream, Crowd Factory, Vision Chain, Gigya, EXPO, Teradata, ShopIgniter, DoubleDutch, Milyoni, and Zuberance.

Below, I’ll continue to update this list of links related to the event. If you blog about Rise of Social Commerce, be sure to add a comment.



  1. Kristen Wesley says:

    It really seems as though you Charlene and altimiter group have the best grasp on social commerce as of yet.


  1. [...] Recap of Day 2 is now available, find out the bite sized findings from each of the speakers [...]

  2. [...] Recap of Day 2 is now available, find out the bite sized findings from each of the speakers [...]