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Frank, thanks for the great post. As we discussed offline, I don't think Getwear is a good example of "social commerce." Like Zazzle, CafePress, or Delusha, Getwear is building a market place of quasi-designers, but that community of co-creators just adds to the selection does not tap the value of "social." I dive a little deeper into the definition of social and it's potential for customizers on our blog: thanks again.
How do you make a great product that successfully scales? How do you make your product easy to use? Ryan Spoon wrote a great piece on how a viral marketing strategy starts with a great user experience that customers will love, talk about, and recommend. . Certainly, network effects are important as indicated by Professor Piller. (Point B). In this case its not just the impact of each individual customizer but the influence of the power-customizer. A good customization site needs to have creative suggestions from both the company's product experts and from the community of designers. In addition to creative suggestions, a good customization site should include a user flow that includes suggestions and guidance from the company's product expert. The website should reflect the dialog of a "personal shopper." Related to "the paradox of choice," users may not want millions of combinations., for example, boasts 56 million combinations for their custom bike. First, it takes several minutes to download all the images (causing abandons) and then the choices are overwhelming because they are technical and there are too many of them, causing frustration and more abandons. Users do not know your product as well as you do and they appreciate your tips and suggestions, just like having a valuable dialog with a top sales person. When Rickshaw Bagworks customers select a specialty fabric, they are presented with matching binding options. In this case there is less clutter and choice so users build better products and are less likely to abandon or get frustrated (or return them). When it comes to designing a great ecommerce experience, there is plenty of room for improvement. Users appreciate performance, simplicity, guidance, and great navigation, as well as the power to build their own creation. Of course you need to offer fast delivery (Point A). Of course the price of a custom product should be competitive and on par with standard products. Of course your customizer should be strategically important to your company and easy to discover (point D). These factors are points of parity and should be already be non issues given the maturity of ecommerce. Once your customization experience is fast, fun, and helpful, conversion rates will increase, word of mouth will spread, and your community will drive your marketing strategy for you (point C). Related, your customizer should be social-integrated and mobile-ready. Again, obvious points given the state of the Internet's evolution. -Dave Sloan
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Apr 28, 2010