Is There A Future For Social And Distributed E-Commerce?
I’ve never before been so much involved in projects revolving around lead generation, e-commerce and merchandising. As search and serendipitous discovery becomes increasingly social and important, digital marketing becomes essential not only for building and protecting brand value, but also for generating bottom-line-business.
It’s a world where the best marketing you can get is when selling great products and services where your customers are involved; they provide valuable feedback during the whole cycle and their online behavior awards them perks and increasingly targeted marketing. Customers are also becoming judge and jury via a constant flow of reviews.
But instead of being just buyers, can’t they also be sellers?
I know the guys behind the Swedish startup Tipser, a company still in the early stages of their development. What they have done is to create a backend system which can latch on to basically any brand’s existing e-commerce platform. So, a blogger like yours truly could then choose a product and create an embed widget.
So, this is a pair of Triwa sunglasses. I chose them because I like them, but mainly because they too are a small Swedish brand and because I know – and like! – the guys behind the brand. So, there it is. The widget is in Swedish still, but can buy the item here on my blog (you won’t get pulled away elsewhere). If you like me, then chances are that you will like what I like and maybe that can convert into sales enough to make this into new way of selling products?
You can try to click “KÖP DIREKT” (Buy Now) to see how it works without committing to anything.
Now, here’s some stuff to understand about these kinds of service:
1. Highlighting a pair of sunglasses on a social media marketing blog maybe isn’t the best match, but as the selection of products expands, maybe I can sell discounted and relevant ebooks, conference tickets and other stuff that would relate better to what I’m writing about?
2. If you would buy the sunglasses here on my blog, then I would get a share of the revenue. I’m curios to see if this can be a source of income for influential bloggers in the near future. If you would buy these sunglasses in particular, I would get approximately $15. For the really big blogs, for instance in fashion and gadgets, this could prove lucrative.
3. If you have a blog and you would use this widget for yourself and you snatch the embed code from my blog, then I would actually get a small percentage of your revenue, too. This could potentially be marketing technique that urges bloggers to be early adopters, basically just to get as high in the hierarchy as possible.
4. Especially in fashion and interior design style blogs, webshops are becoming increasingly popular. Maybe this can be a shortcut to creating your own personalized shop with your favorite items? Not everything has to go in the editorial feed.
Will Social Multi-Level Marketing Be A Thing?
We have seen some interesting multi-level marketing (MLM) approaches within the universe of affiliates. For the “affiliate elite”, the idea of embeddable widgets might be old news, but affiliate programs has yet to reach a larger audience.
[pullquote]Personally, I would feel a bit cheap posting affiliate links to products in my networks, but having a simple webshop on my blog? Sure. And if I initiate sales for brands across the www then sure, I wouldn’t mind a piece of that action, too.[/pullquote]
These types of web services could also serve as alternatives to hosting ads. And by having the widget structure, I think it becomes pretty clear what is editorial and what is not. I’m actually not so concerned about the editorial ethics of bloggers as many seem to be. Here’s why:
I don’t think blog readers have any problems with commercial affiliations just as long as there’s a transparency involved. In this case, I’ve stated that I know and like the guys at both Tipser and Triwa. I don’t get paid to mention them—unless if someone buys the sunglasses that is.
Long-term success is closely tied to the ability to earn and respect people’s trust, so the system should be self-cleaning, at least theoretically.
Making Money As A Blogger
What do you think? Here’s my personal SWOT:
- Bloggers might do all the required marketing themselves of the actual service
- Our spending online increases all the time and it doesn’t seem to plateau for years to come
- For it to work, the whole process must be very intuitive and easy to grasp and sales seldom is
- There has to be signs of instant gratification for the resellers—or their patience will run out
- Bloggers are in general open to ways to get something back for their efforts and their talents
- Businesses are looking for new ways to leverage the social media landscape for bottom line activities
- The selections have to “long-tailed”, but setting up deals with retailers takes time and effort
- International laws and regulations as well as shipping are mighty obstacles