With social commerce (dotcom and mobile) evolving at such a pace, the opportunities for brands to engage with potential customers is forever growing. But how do we remove the noise and create relevance in these most testing of times?
Here I will touch upon just one of what I believe to be an under-utilised and future trend for the coming year – the rise of social gifting.
The changing nature of friends means that we now have ‘virtual’ friends. People that we know well and consider to be ‘close’, but perhaps don’t see often or live too far away. It is with these friends that social gifting really works and where new pastures can really be explored.
So what is social gifting? In short it is the opportunity to create an emotional or rational value from one friend to another, using a brand as a conduit to create an opportunity for a shared experience or passion.
Facebook users, either alone or as part of a group, can send paid-for, discounted, or free gift-cards to friends via gifting companies. The gift cards are redeemable both in-store and online and senders and receivers are given the choice of whether or not they want their information to be viewable on their social media profiles. Some app’s will make use of your (or your mates) personal data and suggest suitable gifts – again creating more relevance.
With the ever growing demand of mobile within the marketing mix has seen a rise in bespoke mobile gifting apps… Karma, available on Android and iOS, is an instant-gifting app that allows recipients to choose the size and colour of a gift, and even exchange it for something different. Apple have also hinted that in the near future we will be able to gift tunes with a single tap, using NFC technology.
Social gifting is a real opportunity for the growth of brand affinity or association, which comes with the trusted endorsement of a friend. A very personable way for a brand to emphasise its suitability to micro-targeted audiences, creating very specific campaigns and placing them in front of the most relevant people likely to spend on their products.
Retailers believe that increased ticket values are possible once a consumer enters their site / store, and that they are likely to end up spending more than a voucher’s redeemable value via smart-up and cross-selling – mechanics that retailers are already well versed in.
However, the consumer experience has to be a positive one for social gifting to be successful. Customer service must be top-notch, with queries answered promptly and mistakes eradicated as soon as they arise. The purchase and redemption processes also have to be frictionless to be sure that the experience will be shared and repeated.
The future of social gifting looks interesting to say the least; whatever way social gifting evolves, brands must ensure their content is always relevant and well targeted to the consumer. If this can be accomplished then brands are likely to benefit from the increased awareness and buzz that social gifting creates.