Today, Facebook announced major enhancements to the Open Graph platform that will change how consumers shop online. People will now be able to opt-in and communicate their activities in a way that better describes what they are doing, whether it’s reading, watching, listening, or shopping. Online actions will now be more expressive and personal.
We are proud to be one of a handful of partners involved in the pre-f8 implementation of the new features. Not only will the new features make it easier to discover news and music from your friends, now you will be able to discover new products and offers as well. Here is why the enhancements are a big deal for shopping:
1. More Expressive Shopping
In the past, web users could click on a button to express their satisfaction with whatever they were browsing, reading, watching, listening to, etc. But sometimes, “like” didn’t really cut it. With today’s enhancements and proper adoption by merchants, it will be easier for shoppers to share much more about themselves. For example, you’ll now be able to tell your friends that you really really WANT something vs. LIKING something you might already own. These additional sharing options will also give brands better information about how shoppers have engaged with them. For example, Best Buy shouldn’t send you a special offer on 3D TVs if you already own one. They would send you offers on 3D movies instead. Now, actions will be more expressive, as outlined below:
2. Easier Sharing = More Sharing = More Distribution
Another feature announced today that has major impact on shopping is the frictionless publishing enhancement. Shoppers will now be able to choose to opt-in to share shopping actions with their Facebook friends, similar to checking in on Foursquare. For example, a concert-goer could allow Ticketmaster to notify her friends that she is attending a concert by The Decemberists after she buys a ticket. She wouldn’t have to manually review the pop-up dialogue box from Facebook each time – she’d only have to approve it once for all events.
3. Next Generation of Social Commerce
Facebook’s announcements this week open up a whole new world of possibilities for creating better, more personal and participatory shopping experiences for customers on and off of Facebook.
We’re quickly enhancing the 8thBridge social shopping platform to enable a whole new set of social shopping actions that will make shopping experiences better on ecommerce sites, inside Facebook, and in offline locations via mobile. The Like Button was just the start, now consumers at each step of the funnel will be able to frictionlessly express themselves to friends and brands.
New Social Shopping Actions from 8thBridge
The Like button and Open Graph API announcements last year opened a new era in openness on the web. While the opportunities with those platforms enhancements were limitless, we were not alone in feeling that “like” was not a perfect fit for commerce. We felt “like” reflected a feeling for the user of something they had already experienced or had great familiarity with. And in the context of commerce, it better expressed satisfaction than it did reflect desire or intent. The latter of course, is a very valuable expression for both users browsing a product for the first time and for merchants to understand what users want most.
Our suspicions were later confirmed when we published our Social Commerce IQ™ report and found that 57% of people who click the like button, do so because they’ve bought the product and are satisfied with their purchase. We also found that the low “like-rates” of products on ecommerce sites demonstrated users’ discomfort with clicking “like” in the context of shopping.
Now we can introduce any action we want to better reflect how users want to express themselves. Facebook is, after all, at its simplest about 2 things: expression and discovery. The three new social shopping actions we’ll be rolling out for our customers include Want, Follow, and Own.
We believe this to be the most important action that users want to express while shopping as well as discover what their friends are interested in while browsing their Facebook News Feed or Ticker.
Even further, we are excited about users creating their “want lists.” With the holidays right around the corner, we feel this could be the season of “want.”
The potential for the own action is both aspirational and utilitarian. So for those who want to show their friends that they own a Rolex, they can do so through actions and profile boxes. And for those who may want to answer questions, write reviews, and provide recommendations, the own action can be a valuable utility.
In very much the same vein, as customers shop, their decisions are sometimes not yet made because of pricing, inventory, recommendations, reviews, and much more. With that, we think it’s an opportunity with great potential to give users the opportunity to essentially subscribe to inventory & pricing changes for products, new posts in reviews, changes in a friend’s want list, and much much more.
We’re excited about today’s news and are looking forward to testing out the new capabilities with our innovative partners in retail, fashion, and entertainment!