Online Retailing + Social Networking

If you’re anything like me you may have recently seen an eBay TV commercial and thought “hmm thats funny, eBay (and the majority of other online retailers) don’t normally advertise“. So what are eBay up to? Well they have a new campaign out at the moment focussed on “Making Shopping Exciting”. Check out one of the TV ads on YouTube (below), or you can go through to their campaign landing page. They have also started a series of online activity with ads on NineMSN amongst other places.


eBay entered the market with a bang and a great new model over 10 years ago and have had some great success. I have used eBay to both buy and sell a few times and found their service easy to use however I’m interested in watching how eBay and other online retailers respond to the popularity of online social networking.

I’m sure that most of the big online retailers already have a defined plan in place and have considered options around evolving to include social networking, however here are a few of my thoughts on how an online retailer may be able to further integrate social networks to assist their business.

1. Create a social network around your service: Consider allowing friends to link together and use this as an up-sell and cross promotion tool? See what your friends are buying (there is nothing like “keeping up with the Joneses”), see who is online and when and perhaps let people send messages or notes.

2. Leverage User Content: Many online retailers do use some user generated content, but what else can they contribute? How about a product poll (eg. will you buy the iPhone when it is released?) or an additional way for users to interact?

3. Shopping Wish List: Got a birthday coming up? Create an wish list of what you want. You could then share this list with friends and family (like a gift registry).

Well there is a start from me. Do you have any other suggestions?

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