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BizReport : Social Marketing : February 07, 2011

SocComm platform highlights unique, local products

Local businesses may get a boost this Valentine's season from social commerce platform Thoughtful; the platform launched in Beta this month. The platform is a gift recommendation engine, but rather than suggesting national brands or products with big name recognition, it recommends more unique, local options.

by Kristina Knight

thoughtful.pngThe platform is currently available online and via an iPhone app.

"Guys don't shop - they buy," said Chris Lynch, Thoughtful's CEO. "There are a million places to shop online, but what most of us guys struggle with is having a good idea and then easily making it happen. Our app is built to recommend the perfect gift this year so that you can be her hero."

Not only does the engine create recommendations based on local goods or services, but it allows users to create profiles for special people in users' lives and then makes recommendations close to birthdays, anniversaries or other holidays.

For brands, the service offers the ability not just to offer discounted merchandise. By setting up parameters for what they'll offer and pricing ranges, brands are more in control of what is offered, giving them more control over the brand as a whole.

How important will social commerce be? Many experts are touting 2011 as the Social Commerce Year, as consumers continue to share deals, product information and recommendations at record numbers through social networks. According to metrics firm comScore, Q4 2010 online spending reached $43.4 billion, an 11% increase (YoY). Another bright spot? The research shows that 84% of online consumers in the US made at least one online purchase in Q4 2010.

While consumers aren't necessarily buying from stores directly from social networks, they are asking for and giving product recommendations and sharing other branded information.

Tags: comScore, ecommerce, local marketing, social commerce, social marketing,

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