I finally got around to seeing the Social Network this weekend and it sparked me to start thinking about how social networks are going to change the way we buy everything from cars to diapers. Facebook in particular has been adopted at an unprecedented rate globally and everyone knows that word of mouth is the most powerful tool in moving someone from consideration to purchase. How does word of mouth evolve as social media becomes part (and probably the most influential) of the purchase process? Here are some questions that I want to answer before the map the future of social commerce can be drawn:
- What lines will be drawn from a privacy perspective? You obviously don’t want all of your personal purchases shared, what is fair game and what is not, who decides?
- What role will mobile devices play in this? This is where the real innovation is occurring with bar code readers, NFC chips embedded in the next iPhone (speculation), geo-location applications (foursquare, WHERE, SVNGR, etc.) that can tailor offers and experiences to your specific locations, and traditional credit card processing companies being challenged by new players like square this all has the potential to disrupt the way people shop in a big way.
- What platforms or tools that do not currently exist and are yet to be born that will become the glue that binds all of these processes together? Will it be Facebook? As social networks and the web in general evolve into something that is an important piece of every bit of our life and not something done from a desktop or laptop screen what is next? How will the rapid deployment of 4G wireless networks that promise wi-fi speed everywhere change the way people shop in-store, on the go and at home?