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ONliNE – iT’s AbOuT TrusT
Retailing worldwide is experiencing one of
its most dynamic periods in history with
traditional retailers looking at new and
innovative ways of maintaining their market
share and the new kids on the block, the
online stores, making major in-roads into
With uK online stores targeting the
Australian market with their offers of free
delivery and free returns – once a major
concern of the Australia public to purchase
online - and many european and American
retailers opening stores here, Australian
retailers must look for ways to maintain
their market share.
shopping has always been social. since
the first transactions in the earliest
marketplaces, people bought from people
– and discussed their decisions with other
As retailers discover the power of the
crowd, it’s hard to find a serious commerce
site that doesn’t have some form of ratings,
reviews or user-generated content.
social commerce works because it
addresses the number one issue in every
online purchase: trust.
For retailers, brands and anyone selling
online, social commerce has never been
more important. In most markets, the
winners will be those who best harness
the power of the crowd – not just on their
product pages but through the entire
Today’s consumer purchase journeys
are multi-channel, multi-step pathways
that reflect the unique motivations and
dynamics of each specific purchase.
Today’s purchase journeys hop from search
engine to social site to price comparison
engine to mobile app, showroom and
back. They often involve multiple retailer
and manufacturer sites, plus review sites,
expert blogs and mobile services.
You need to be in the right place at the right
time with the right content.
On retail sites with reviews, shoppers
spend an average of 13.6 minutes on
product pages compared to 5.6 minutes
for sites without reviews. Nearly two and
a half times longer.
Conversion rates increase by 177% when
consumers engage with social content.
The evidence – from many different sources
– is overwhelming. social commerce
content delivers significant benefits to
online marketers, including: Increased
traffic generating the fresh content
Source: Centre for Independent studies and
Reevoo hYPeRLINK “http://www.reevoo.
Potter was released there was bound
to be stiff competition. As expectations
grew, doors opened on either side of
Lygon street. Readings’ in-store events
for kids and parents came alive, and in the
dizzying theatrics of the morning, Rubbo
sold a staggering 400 copies before 11am,
and at full retail price. over the span of
the whole day, more than a thousand
customers chose not to cross the street to
buy precisely the same book at half-price.
While denying it, this was a symbolic blow
to Borders. And Borders just didn’t get it.
“W h y would someone want to pay full price
for a book we’ll sell them for half-price?
We’re Borders, for god’s sake! What’s going
What was going on was loyalty. Real loyalty.
Loyalty does not come in the shape of a
discount card or coupon. Loyalty, for the
socially progressive, authenticity-loving
customers of Readings and BookPeople
and Waterloo Records, comes from
believing in something wonderful and being
thought wonderful in return.
lOyAlTy dOEs NOT COME iN
ThE shApE OF A disCOuNT
CArd Or COupON
Local support on this and every other day
since meant that instead of the 30-40
percent annual revenue slump that typically
hits independents when Borders moves into
town, Rubbo was suffering only a 3 percent
drop in sales at the hands of his giant
Knowing that Borders relied on discounts
and impersonal transactions, Rubbo
devised a battle plan. he invested in a new
fitout for the Lygon street store, not that
anyone knew: it lifted efficiency and sales
but felt like it had always been there. he
spent more time and money delivering
great service, in-person and online; he
created and staged local literary and
author events every week; he stocked hard
to find titles; sold books that dealt with
political and social issues; and created
an interactive website. he invested in
cultural capital and left naked capitalism
to Borders. Rubbo adopted an anti-
supermarket, anti-corporate approach.
It was easy for him. It’s what he’d always
done. Business for Mark Rubbo is personal.
he loves wonderful books and loves the
people who sell and read them.
The small moves he made to contrast
his neighbourhood businesses from the
transnational corporation were starting to
bite. And other independent booksellers
around Australia joined the wave. By 2008
Borders Carlton store and other Borders
stores in neighbourhood locations across
the country were suffering financially.
There is a lesson there for newsagents who
pale at the competition from the big chains,
local, community, service, loyalty, making
your customers feel wonderful.
he lifted efficiency and sales ... spent more
time and money delivering great service..
created and staged local events every week
... stocked hard to find titles...created an
Ross Honeywill is a social scientist, doctoral
candidate and internationally published
author. He is Research Director of the Social
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