Social Gifting: Not Just for Apps AnymoreMay 23rd, 2012 at 11:18 am by Ereika
“Gifting” used to be a term associated almost entirely with the realm of social applications – particularly social games. However, that’s no longer the case as e-commerce starts bridging the gap between retail and social.
Two very different models of social gifting are currently at the forefront. Wrapp uses a marketing strategy similar to Groupon, with users giving their friends a free gift card through a combination of Facebook and a mobile application. Participating retail locations can tailor their gift card offering to particular demographics for the best effect.
On the other side of social gifting is the site SocialGift, which allows friends to share the cost of an online purchase, with integrated Facebook posting to complement the shopping experience.
Both of these social ecommerce trends have the potential to increase sales and conversions, but the Wrapp model goes a step further by including the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Still, regardless of the type of social gifting involved, companies need to have a solid plan in order to successfully capitalize on the opportunity. This is especially true for smaller brick-and-mortar businesses because they typically have fewer resources over all.
Capitalizing on Generosity
When evaluating whether or not social gifting is right for your business model, there are three key areas to assess:
Be Prepared for (Too Much) Success
While a less-than-expected response can disappointing and costly, the reverse is also true. You must be prepared to ramp up as needed to successfully deliver on your offer. Nothing is more damaging to a reputation or brand than to over promise and under deliver on a popular offer.
Social gifting by its very nature means that you are going to get public feedback – be sure that you are able to handle the potential landslide of sales by having both adequate stock and adequate staff on hand. It also pays to have a plan in place for notifying consumers if despite best efforts, you are still unable to meet the demand at the expected pace.
Have a Follow-up Plan in Place
The sales from social gifting may or may not be made at a loss. Regardless, you need to have a plan in place to turn these one-time purchases into long-term customers. Inviting customers to subscribe to your sales and marketing emails is one good step, but you may want to consider taking it a step further to create a special “VIP” experience to retain some of your newly acquired customers.
Take Stock of the Results
Analytics should focus on not only sales numbers, but on potential ongoing marketing leads as well in order to be sure you get a clear picture of whether or not social gifting can really drive revenue for your business in the long term.
Properly handled, social gifting provides an excellent opportunity for sellers of both goods and services to drive more revenue through social sharing, and as more options come onto the scene, it is a trend with the potential to become a mainstay in the online marketplace.