The Economist on Social Commerce: The Four Corners of Social Influence

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The Economist’s journal Intelligent Life has published an interesting article (archived below) on social commerce (focusing on user ratings and reviews), by Booker Prize shortlist author Linda Grant.

Our top takeouts/thoughts:

  • User ratings and reviews turn a dry catalogue shopping experience into an interactive and engaging Pop Idol (X-Factor in UK) experience – allowing people to “talk back to the shop” and determine the fate of new products
  • Democratisation is good, but not when it leads to mob law and the cult of the amateurthe crowd need (and want) to be led, not just lead.  Professional reviews and personal shopping recommendations offset the populism of user ratings and reviews – and also provide e-tailer opportunities for up-selling and cross-selling.
  • The seeds of future social commerce may be found in the children’s site Star Doll – an online avatar that you can dress up in the style of celebrities – and share with your friends. A portable social graph AND a portable preview avatar that can try on clothes/outfits and that be shared makes big sense in fashion e-tailing

The article got us thinking about the authority heuristic (mental shortcut) in social commerce that people use to choose.  In addition to customer reviews, we know people are influenced by friends and experts.  Add celebrity into the mix – and you have the four corners of social influence covered for social commerce.

Social Commerce & The Four Corners of Social Influence

Four Corners of Social InfluenceSocial Commerce & The Four Corners of Social Influence


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