RESEARCH & STRATEGY PROPOSAL

Jewelry for You is a small Internet retailer selling fine gold, silver, and platinum settings with a variety of stones, including diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, and rubies. Jewelry for You’s has a unique competitive advantage with its excellent customer support and its “personal shopper” service. Their personal shopper service is a live chat with a company representative that helps the customer choose the best piece of jewelry for their budget and desires, giving the customer the feel of an in-store experience from the comfort of their computer. Jewelry for You’s website customers are the same as those of the traditional jewelry stores. Men shopping for their wives and girlfriends, women shopping for their husbands and boyfriends, or more importantly themselves, and of course men and women shopping for their mothers, sons, and daughters. Jewelry for You’s customer service experience is what we are looking to share with more customers in hopes to increase their sales consistently throughout the year.

After implementing an affiliate program, to continue towards accomplishing our goal of year round revenue, we are expanding on more possible ways to generate sales. Based on Jewelry for You’s specializations we have concluded that further research needs to be done on these two additional options in order to obtain our goal. First, we will look at the benefits of real-time bidding. With real-time bidding companies can now precisely target their advertisements to users based on their browsing and search history. Second, we will look at the potential benefit of social shopping. More and more people are using social networks to get and give product recommendations about where to shop.

Companies now let advertisers buy ads in the milliseconds between the time when someone enters a site’s Web address and the moment the page appears. This technology is called real-time bidding. While companies have been plugging real-time bidding for a couple of years, industry heavyweights are now behind it. This technology lets advertisers continuously tailor and hone their display ad campaigns, and alter their ads, to reach potential customers based on their web searches. AdMeld CEO Michael Barrett says “ads sold through real-time bidding generates 2-3 times as much revenue for his customers on average, and up to 10 times as much in some cases” (Saint, 2010). Advertisers say real-time bidding cuts down on wasted money (Clifford, 2010). It may seem pretty straightforward and seemingly simple. However, if it were simple everyone would do it. The biggest downside of real-time bidding is that you need a strong developer (or team) to build a real-time bidder. This is someone with domain expertise, good coding practices, and knowledge of network protocols (RC, 2010). This avenue is something that would seem to be too expensive for our small company.

Social shopping has taken us “From E-Commerce to F-Commerce” (Solis, 2010). F-commerce is the ability to execute transactions in Facebook without leaving Facebook and going to a traditional site-based e-commerce platform. More importantly, it ties each transaction to the company’s social graph. With each transaction, an update is broadcast to the news feed of their contacts. This potentially sparks a social effect and ultimately may influence impressions and decisions over time. There is debate as to why brands would willfully sacrifice traffic to its dotcom but with Facebook’s ability to allow customers to “influence their friends and followers by recommending products to buy” (Poland, 2009). Companies like 1-800-Flowers.com hosts a shoplet within Facebook where consumers can browse through arrangements and order without leaving Facebook. Other companies, such as Starbucks, are even allowing running of customer loyalty programs from social marketing platforms (Marsden, 2010). This is the avenue we want to head down when it comes to Jewelry for You.

Social shopping is the next opportunity for brands and consumers to connect and enjoy products in a new way (Karimi, 2007). Sellers will be able to access new insights into shopper preferences and will use this data to better promote their products. These new opportunities will make the Facebook shopping experience richer and more social. Customers will even have the opportunity to create shopping wish lists from their favorite brands and share that information with their friends list. Adding product-focused lists to your profile lets people know what you want, and makes it easier for friends to know what to buy you when those special events come around. Now when your friends get a birthday reminder for you, they can click through to your profile, and may even be able to buy you something from your birthday wish list immediately (Taylor, 2011).

Social shopping is our way to go and 1-800-Flowers is our model. 1800 Flowers, also known as a pioneer in social commerce, was the first to launch a Facebook store. Imagine the benefits Jewelry for You’s current target customers could get from not having to ask what someone wants or spending days mauling over the decision making process. It’s the idea of bringing the shopping experience to where the customers already are. “Right now it is still a relatively small amount of sales, but it is a great way to spread our brand virally” (Dilworth, 2009).

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REFERENCES

The Rise Of Real-Time Bidding Is The Biggest Online Advertising Story Of 2010 by Nick Saint, August 2, 2010, Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/real-time-bidding-2010-8#ixzz1sp3Qrqr6

Instant Ads Set the Pace on the Web by Stephanie Clifford, March 11, 2010, Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/12/business/media/12adco.html?_r=1

The Business Guide to Facebook Part 2: From E-Commerce to F-Commerce by Brian Solis, October 27, 2010, Retrieved from http://www.briansolis.com/2010/10/the-business-guide-to-facebook-part-2-from-e-commerce-to-f-commerce/

Twitter And Facebook Turn Everyone Into An Affiliate Marketer by Steve Poland, November 15, 2009, Retrieved from http://techcrunch.com/2009/11/15/twitter-facebook-amazon-affiliate-marketing/

How Big Retail is Deploying Social Commerce by Paul Marsden, November 2, 2010, Retrieved from http://socialcommercetoday.com/how-big-retail-is-deploying-social-commerce-presentation-download/

Seven Benefits of Joining the Social Shopping Revolution by Sabah Karimi, June 20, 2007, Retrieved from http://voices.yahoo.com/seven-benefits-joining-social-shopping-revolution-395011.html

5 Ways Facebook’s New Features Will Fuel Social Shopping by Christian Taylor, September 29, 2011, Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2011/09/29/facebook-social-shopping/

1-800-Flowers blooms with Facebook transactions by Dianna Dilworth, October 2, 2009, Retrieved from http://www.dmnews.com/1-800-flowers-blooms-with-facebook-transactions/article/151320/

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