Monthly Archives: November 2012

Uh Oh, It’s Going to be Easier for Me to Shop…

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I’ve avoided talking about Facebook long enough.  “Facebook” is probably the first word that pops into most people’s minds when the topic of social media is brought up.  The platform has 950 million members worldwide, and the latest buzz is that Facebook’s future is, among other things, e-commerce.  Getting recommendations from friends and shopping from one platform…watch your wallets shop-a-holics!

Facebook already has Sponsored Stories, those (annoying?) ads that pitch products by telling you how much your friends “like” them.  Keep in mind that Facebook has the aforementioned 950 million members, where Amazon has 160 million and Ebay has 100 million.  With such a large audience, “Facebook presents a tempting channel for retailers.”  Facebook can become more than a forum for friends to recommend products.  A recent report from eConsultancy said “90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know” and Internet Retailer “recently announced that 67% of consumers spend more time online after getting advice from their online community of friends.”  Good news for Facebook (and it’s e-commerce initiative) who has just launched Subscription which “allows users to add a credit card to their account and pay for transactions  in their local currency – similar to services available from Apple and Amazon.  This offers a real opportunity for Facebook to “drive significant revenue from facilitating payments on the web and mobile”

Venda has jumped in.  Based in the U.K., Venda was founded in 2001 as a cloud based commerce pioneer.  On their website they state that their “social solutions integrate new convergent commerce best practices, leading partnership and innovative social and mobile technologies that have helped our customers achieve exceptional sales growth with socially driven special offers and promotions.”   Venda further explains that “the average Facebook user has 130 friends – if one person ‘likes” your brand and shares your product you are now introduced to 130 new potential consumers who each have their own 130 friends.  The returns become exponential.”  Venda’s customers include international companies including Tesco, Superdrug, JVC, Urban Outfitters, Conde Nast, Jimmy Choo, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art and they are now increasingly working through Facebook. Venda sets up a “fully commerce enabled storefront on Facebook” and essentially manages every social aspect of the brand.

One thing that Facebook has always done right is integrating itself into the web, and e-commerce seems to be the next step for the company.  Regardless, Silicon Valley investors are “putting their money into e-commerce start-ups that are producing shopping apps for Facebook.”

Resources:

Grandoni, Dino.  July 27, 2012.  What Facebook’s Future Holds, According to It’s Execs’ Hints.  Retrieved November 11, 2012.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/27/facebooks-future_n_1710351.html

Munford, Monty.  August 28,2012.   Facebook faces up to a future of e-commerce.  Retrieved November 9, 2012. http://telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook-faces-up-to-a-future-of-e-commerce.html

www.venda.com

The Risks of “Liking” Urban Decay

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Urban Decay is a cosmetic company founded in 1996.  They started in response to the need for colors other than beige, pink, and red in the “prestige” (not drug store brand) cosmetics market.  Many women, as it turns out, had alternative makeup taste.  But this was the 90’s – remember grunge? – and this company had (has) names for it’s products like Roach, Smog, Rust, Oil Slick, you get the idea.  Now in 2012, the company is still going strong selling cosmetics through it’s website, www.urbandecay.com and in Sephora, Ulta, and most recently, Macy’s.

Urban Decay had no choice but to join in when it came to social media.  They are mentioned in fashion themed blogs constantly.  On their website, they have a special sign-in for professional makeup artists.  The annual September release of the “Book of Shadows” is a much anticipated event in the blogosphere.  This year, the “book” includes QR codes that consumers can scan with their smartphones to get step-by-step tutorials on how to create eye look.  There are also MANY YouTube tutorials on a number of Urban Decay product uses.   The Facebook page recently had a Halloween challenge; customers were asked to upload pictures of their usage of Urban Decay makeup products as part of their costume, and there were several “behind-the-scenes” pictures of the Urban Decay employees and their Halloween creations.

Since their launch, Urban Decay has been vegan and cruelty free company…and here’s where there could have been trouble if they didn’t listen to “the groundswell.”   On June 6, 2012 Urban Decay informed its customers, through its website and social media, of the decision to sell in China, a country that requires animal testing for cosmetics.  In the announcement on Facebook,  they acknowledged that “because of China’s policies, (Urban Decay’s decision to sell in China) has upset some of our loyal fans who are also animal rights activists…we are listening to all of your feedback and will try to address every single one of you.”  There were 1334 angry replies.  On July 6, 2012 Urban Decay announced their decision not to market in China.  Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States even weighed in.  “Urban Decay has made the right choice, having listened to the overwhelming outcry from its customers and taken the high road to fight animal testing by refusing to market in China.” (1)

Imagine everything to be learned from this.  First and foremost, listening to social media was well worth it, and the company proved that sales were not more important than the integrity of Urban Decay.  Secondly, animal rights activists learned all about this company and I’m sure apppreciate their integrity and commitment to the cruelty free protocol.

Resources
https://www.facebook.com/urbandecaycosmetics/posts/252445838188526