CommonSense Blog

A New Social Commerce Index for the top 500 Internet Retailers

By Bob Pearson | Jun 09, 2012

Paul Dyer, who is one of our leaders at W2O Group, has pioneered the development of a new Social Commerce Index that analyzes the social media effectiveness of the top internet retailers.  Paul and his team worked in partnership with Internet Retailer, the leading media outlet for e-commerce, to develop the Index.

The summary is featured in the  June issue of Internet Retailer.  It’s worth a read.

Here are some of my thoughts related to this initial analysis.

Victoria’s Secret, ranked #19 in the Top 500 Guide, is #1 as the most effective internet retailer in social media and there are reasons for this happening.

The biggest reason relates to Amazon.com (#2 in social media), which has not yet figured out how to fully leverage social media.  If they ever do, watch out.

Victoria’s Secret was one of the first retailers to sell directly through Facebook.  Those who embrace early trends, e.g. f-commerce, eventually benefit.

Their use of video is also one of the driver’s of success.  We know from our analysis of the top companies in the world that video is the most underutilized form of expression online, yet it is one of the top five content drivers.  Huge opportunity for virtually every brand to improve here. It is amazing to me how untapped video is as a way to tell a brand’s story.  In many respects, I believe we are so conditioned to think of paid media/TV ads when we think visually, that marketers are often completely missing where the marketplace is going.  That will change.

Amazon.com is excellent at retweeting and encouraging their customers to participate in the sharing of deal news.  This is a critical success factor in social commerce.  When you engage with your customers, your reach is exponentially increased.  Another highly underutilized area by today’s companies selling online.

My old company, Dell, came in third.  Not a surprise and a testament to the work of Richard Binhammer and team.   That being said, in the technology space, competitors are increasingly improving in how they interact online.  We should see alot of positive evolution here.  Except for Apple, which doesn’t have a Facebook page and I doubt they care….you can afford to think that way when your market cap is over $500 billion….but you can’t get away with that approach forever.

We know that blogs and twitter drive approximately 2/3 of news flow for a healthy brand and Home Depot is proof that blogging is alive and well.  Ranked as #5 on the list, Home Depot has 500,000 monthly unique visitors to its blog.  Their focus, not surprisingly, is on how to’s and answering customer questions.

Multi-media content is not being done well in most cases.  Big opp to integrate audio, video, images and text in new ways.

Facebook has lots of promotions, not alot of story telling.   This is the classic mistake made by companies.  A brand should always be telling a story..and listening to how its customers tell its story….and then relate in relevant ways to their communities.  You can sell…you can share promotions….but if that is the only focus, it limits the upside, since you are known for only that.  It’s no different than being interesting at a cocktail party.  We gravitate towards people who are more interesting.

Paul and his team will continue to flush out this new Social Commerce Index.  I have no doubt we are at the very beginning of “how” the Internet Retailer top 500 companies can effectively use social media to sell, create demand and build brand value.

All the best, Bob Pearson