At Google I/O, a developer conference strictly for Google developers, there were a few noteworthy announcements made.
If you haven't heard this story yet, you're missing a huge win in the fight against bullying, not to mention a jaw-dropping example of the power of viral videos and online charitable fundraising.
Imagine being able to track what your walk-in customers are looking up on their phones as they browse through your store. Previously, obtaining this type of data required a branded e-commerce app connected to NFC/GPS/geo-fencing/location-based technology (and a separate process of tracking the data that comes in), but new developments are making this type of "customer monitoring" possible over local Wi-Fi.
"(Microsoft Kinect) may just be the most significant game-changer for retail this decade, one that promises a new channel just as viable as the Web browser," wrote Chris Andrasick, CEO and co-founder of Tacit Knowledge, a digital commerce consultancy, in a guest blog post for Forbes (June 6).
Facebook Credits, the social network's payments system has been around for some time (we blogged about it last November), but as Dan Rowinski of ReadWriteWeb writes, "many Facebook users are not aware that they can pay for items in Facebook."
Everyone knows that Google butters its bread with revenue generated by AdWords: paid, sponsored links that appear every time you search something on Google, the world's most popular search engine.
Layar, a Holland-based leader in augmented reality, has launched a revolutionary new technology called "Creator" that takes its previous technology (which gave static objects additional layers of content) further -- to printed materials.
Back in January, in a blog post on the ROI of social commerce, my colleague Anne Forkutza wrote: Customer loyalty depends on a quality experience that extends beyond a simple transaction.
Recent news surrounding Facebook's IPO and GM pulling its ads from the social network, and today's headline that Google+ has yet to make a significant impact on search campaigns, were given additional perspective with Shopify's claim yesterday that Pinterest drives more sales than any social network or search engine. Yes, search engine -- as in Google, Yahoo!, Bing -- and more than e-commerce monolith Amazon too (see above graphic).
Social commerce findings should always be taken with a grain of salt. Context is vital here, as everybody knows Pinterest does not drive more overall sales revenue than each of the big three search engines and Amazon. Pinterest users, however, spend an average of $80 per order, which exceeds the average order generated by each of the websites listed in the above graphic. This graphic is an excerpt of the larger infograhic created by Shopify.
"It’s easy to see how Pinterest is better for shopping than Facebook," wrote Devon Glenn of SocialTimes.com. "On Pinterest, images of products aren’t a nuisance or an invasion of privacy, but part of the fun. When you’re shopping for something, searching on Pinterest is like walking through a mall with clearly marked aisles and a catalog in hand. When you just want ideas for something you might buy later or make yourself, no one is there to pressure you to buy now."
Intent is the main differentiator here. Glenn makes a good point: Pinterest users are in more of a shopping mindset than Facebook users, whose motivation is to socialize (...and "creep"). Aside from Amazon, Pinterest is the most e-commerce oriented of all the sites examined. And one could presume that based on the broad variety of products available on Amazon, its average purchase price would be lower than those made on Pinterest.
Specific sample size. Pinterest demographics have been thoroughly documented to date and users are predominantly Midwestern, upper income women aged 18-34. Based on these traits alone, it's clear that Pinterest users as a whole are more likely to be a) shopping online and b) spending more on clothing, cosmetics, accessories, and luxury goods than would a typical user of Google, Amazon, Yahoo!, Bing, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, or Twitter.
And all of the purchases considered in this study were Shopify purchases, which narrows the field even more.
So yeah, take this news with a grain of salt.
Brick-and-mortar retail is founded on the process of consumers going into a store to make a purchase. But as Lauren Johnson of Mobile Commerce Daily reports, mobile technology like QR codes, mobile apps, geo-fencing and augmented reality are creating scenarios where consumers can actually make a purchase right in front of the store window.
Last week, we blogged about Facebook's mobile ad shortcomings and this week, some more untimely news has befallen the company in the midst of its IPO: General Motors is pulling its ads (all ads, not just mobile ones) off Facebook.
Yesterday afternoon, Facebook announced its new mobile app store, called "App Center."
Dana Mattioli and Miguel Bustillo of the Wall Street Journal wrote an article yesterday on how some retailers are hoping "geo-fencing" -- sending promotions to people's phones as they come within a few hundred yards of their stores --can help win them new and repeat business.