Social Commerce event at MaRS DD, Toronto

It turned to be a great evening that included a lot of market insights and Q & A sessions.

The panel included Peter Sheldon from Forrester, Simon Chong from Georgian Partners Capital (VC), Marianne Hamilton from Motorola Mobility and David Man from Simply Good Tech. The event was moderated by Janice Diner (Founder of Catalysta platform at Horizon Studios).


Here's some of the major points brought forward during the discussion:

A Booz Allen report suggests that social commerce will be a +30bn by 2015. This is based on the premise that shopping is a social activity. With more and more people have stronger connections on social networks, it can be tapped into to complete the cycle from awareness to lead to purchase.

Currently, retailers are calculating their ROI on social media based on these categories:

  • Brand building - 40%
  • Listening to audience - 37%
  • Acquiring new fans - 16%
  • Acquiring customers - 1%
How can the current technologies allow us to create more s-commerce opportunities? A major lesson that can be learnt from the quick closures of f-commerce stores such as Gamestop, GAP, JC Penny and others is that the "build it and they will come" strategy does not work. With e-commerce infrastructures being around for more than 15 years, customers simply did not have any incentive to shop on these Facebook stores. 

Brands such as Ticketmaster are looking at social commerce in a refreshing way. By partnering with Spotify, Ticketmaster now recommends events that can be purchased on the Timeline app.

Motorola Mobility started using the Catalysta platform to help train its sales reps, encourage discussions, get product feedback and reward loyalty points through gamification principles. The brand has seen 20,000 conversations on the platform and has experienced 26% increase in product sales from sales centres that have been trained on the platform.

Good Technologies app, Loop is in the business of digital coupons. Stores can reward customers with digital coupons who can then share it with their friends to bring more customers to the store. Simply Good reported 5X the number of friends coming in through the app (due to the social component) as opposed to corporate sent coupons. The app also helps identify your fans as it tracks customers who share the most offers within their social circles.

The event was a good discussion into what might work and what will certainly not work? While it may be easier to incorporate social into the current e-commerce infrastructure, this will only build the legacy model. 

If disruption is the name of the game, then social might have a chance at being a hit with consumers by cautiously selling through social channels.