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Social commerce and the OWJO revolution
Dr. Johnny Ryan author of “A History of the Internet and the Digital Future” and Chief Evangelist at OWJO talks today at The Great Escape Startup’s Forum in Brighton, UK. Johnny will tell delegates at this premier music festival event about how OWJO is revolutionising the way musicians and fans engage with each other.
Driving next generation commerce on the web, OWJO is a portable online store that can be set up anywhere online. Johnny will be showcasing the OWJO stores’ ability to exist anywhere online – on your Facebook news feed, your blog, your website, your friend’s websites or even within video players such as Brightcove.
Johnny will demo how OWJO can process payments from all major credit and debit cards, from within the OWJO store – without click-offs and without the musician needing a merchant account. In other words, if you see an OWJO store in your Facebook news feed and like the music, you can purchase the music and receive your MP3 – all there and then. For the musician no IT knowledge or investment is required – just a small 7% commission is payable on sales.
Johnny will showcase how the OWJO store can be shared by your fans and friends across a myriad of platforms – true social commerce. Johnny is also announcing OWJO deals with Sony, EMI and International Sports Management who with OWJO are jointly launching The Andrew Flintoff Foundation official Facebook store.
Finally Johnny will join Danny Mac, Music Mind Exchange; Doug Richard, Serial Entrepreneur & Dragons Den Dragon; Scott Cohen, Co-Founder, The Orchard and Steve Milbourne, Creative Director, Sony Music for an audience forum and Q & A.
About Dr. Johnny Ryan
Dr Johnny Ryan is a digital thought leader and author. He has written two books on digital issues, the most recent of which is ‘A history of the Internet and the digital future’ (2010), and is the author of digital thought leadership articles for Fortune, BusinessWeek, India’s Business & Economics, NATO Review, ArsTechnica, among others. He has a PhD from the University of Cambridge, and was O’Reilly Foundation Fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge, between 2008-10. He has spoken on digital issues at the UN, OSCE, European Commission, various government and industry fora.
Founded by David Johnston in 2006, OWJO has created a technology platform that represents the next generation of commerce online. OWJO enables commercial activity where people naturally gather and interact online, for example in Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Blogs and so on. OWJO is a portable online store that can be set up anywhere online. OWJO can be added to any part of a seller’s website, blog, social media page or any other digital property, all managed from one centralised intuitive yet feature rich user interface. With OWJO “buy now” actually means “buy now”. Visit www.owjo.com for more information.
Who can populate your stores across all social media platforms and allow you to make sales there and then without click-offs? Who can allow your fans to share your products with their contacts? Who offers the best social commerce opportunities available today? The answer is OWJO.
OWJO make it so easy to be enthusiastic about their product with the constant release of market leading new features and functionality. The latest sharing releases once again leave the other players far behind and make it easier and easier to make sales in the social media marketplace.
The latest OWJO release contains a complete overhaul of the OWJO sharing capabilities. Sharing a store and items in the store is now available from within the OWJO widget itself and expands social commerce opportunities way beyond the boundaries of Facebook. OWJO is best of breed and its users are some of the few businesses actually tapping into the selling power of social media. This is what your OWJO will look like in StumbleUpon:
OWJO is a superb technical solution – fact – but its real strength lies in its business focus and taking advantage of all the possible avenues available to help OWJOers promote their products, leverage the power of social sharing and convert sales instantly – whether in the Facebook news feed, Twitter timeline, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn updates stream or a myriad of other platforms. Now honestly – who else is doing this? This is your OWJO in Digg:
What this means is that your OWJO store is truly ubiquitous and your fans / followers can cascade it across all the most popular social media platforms without you lifting a finger. Now thats social commerce.
#1. If people take the time to mention, retweet or share your posts/products then take some time to say thank you. If you make the user feel valued then they may be more likely to do it again in the future. If you don’t then don’t expect them to do much for you in the future.
#2. Don’t be pushy with your followers. People do not like being told what to do at the best of times. Don’t push them into un-following you – because they will.
#3. Many people use their accounts to try and sell something. If you just bombard users with your latest products or product updates then you are providing little value to your followers. Take some time to find out what your followers are interested in and provide them with value, your aim should be to build trust with your potential customers, when they are ready they will be back to buy from you.
#4. This is the quickest way to develop a negative reputation online and is a sure fire way of getting banned from the majority of Social Media sites. Don’t send out Direct Messages and automated messages in large numbers, you will find that most people ignore these messages and many will unfollow you, never to return. Users are also able to report people that they believe are spamming them so you also run the risk of being kicked off the network.
#5. As with any form of marketing there is not a single approach that will work for all users. We all work in different niches and what works for one, does not necessarily work for all. Take some time to test different approaches and don’t stick to a strategy that you picked up from someone else. Always take some time to work out the strategy that works best for you.
#6. Social media is powerful, but it isn’t a stand-alone substitute for a marketing strategy. Effective marketing strategies can and should incorporate social media elements. However, simply launching a StumbleUpon account or Facebook Page isn’t going to cut it.
#7. Creating a Twitter account and expecting a few tweets to have followers flocking to you is unrealistic and highly improbable. Social media is a marathon, not a sprint and it takes time to cultivate a presence and following. Be patient with social media and you’ll be rewarded.
#8. Just because you believe that your business, product or service may be heads above the rest, doesn’t mean that others will. Social media is a jungle and it takes an expert guide to navigate the landscape. But even the most seasoned social media consultants can’t generate an interest if the masses don’t care.
#9. When a business becomes involved with social media, each employee becomes that company’s social media ambassador. It’s up to everyone to promote the brand, not just the social media consultant.
#10. How much of it do you have? Do you have plans to continuously develop a flow of content with the variety of contexts you need to meet expectations in different social media venues? Is your company stance to gate content or make it freely available? Is all this content focused on your prospects’ perspectives? Is it helpful? Do your prospects engage well with the content you already share with them? In other words, will they be receptive to more of it? If not, fix that first.
Articles referenced in this post
Mindsprout Marketing Blog. http://mindsproutmarketing.com/blog/2010/05/5-things-social-media-cant-do/
The social commerce market will grow through the emergence of new ecommerce platforms, such as OWJO. Platforms that provide a new retail channel for existing players and a game changing option for new entrants. With the emergence of social media new entrants to ecommerce are numerous and presently have no validated ecommerce strategy; think blogger, think band, think sports star, think designer – all are trying to figure out how to monetise their fan base.
This fully functioning commerce platform lives wherever the seller chooses to sell. Sellers can place their store anywhere, in multiple instances – on social network profiles, on blogs, on friend’s sites, on fan pages and their own web sites.
Regardless of location and number of instances, the application then allows the seller to manage their customers, process transactions, leverage three hundred and sixty degree marketing business intelligence and update their product catalogue – all centrally through one interface and without the usual high capital investment in software, hardware and administration. OWJO is fully hosted and charges only incur when a sale is made and then at a rate of 7% compared to 25% plus for other providers.
The opportunity to monetise the engagement between potential purchasers and sellers is facilitated by offering the ability to transact commerce anywhere on any platform using the OWJO store. Additional revenues can be tapped by allowing rapid deployment of new products based on consumer behaviour and rapidly changing real world events.
OWJO achieves convergence by enabling ecommerce on social media while also allowing integrated ecommerce across all other channels. For companies that want to extend their ecommerce reach to social media which is not supported adequately by their existing ecommerce solution then this is the solution; while for new entrants it is the disruptive technology that allows the band, sports star and designer link directly with their fan base and change the LIKE button into a tangible ROI. The platform facilitates on the hoof ecommerce and a myriad of new product possibilities not facilitated by the traditional distribution models.
OWJO is the first truly capable offering that brings together the often incompatible domains of online (digital and virtual) and offline (traditional and physical) commerce. OWJO facilitates the evolution of ecommerce in line with emerging trends while also integrating and leveraging existing sales channels in one unified platform. The value proposition is that it solves the problem of creating a unified, integrated and cost effective sales channel strategy for every individual, company or organisation who want to be involved in commerce.
For more information see www.owjo.com
Part 1 and Part 2 covered a range of topics about how to activate your social media profiles, connect them, automate posting across platforms, ping directory and search sites, optimise for search engines and perform analytics to understand your readership. In Part 3, we will cover your Facebook fan pages and your Twitter and YouTube accounts.
#1. Branding with Twitter and Faceboook
By properly managing your Twitter and Facebook profiles you maximise the opportunity for cross referencing and drive home your brand name at all available touchpoints. My blogs have different names – I run four at the moment – but I am the main author so I use my personal Twitter and Facebook profiles on each blog. But I also have invitation only Facebook groups for each blog name as there more authors than me who contribute to the sites. For example, my main blog is Social Media & Marketing PR Strategy and I have an invitation only Facebook group under this name as well as the links to my personal Twitter and Facebook profiles – all on each page of the blog.
I also maintain a master Facebook page called Crazy Man’s Utopia and offer a follow link to this on all blog pages – this makes sense if you are running multiple blog sites. The key message here – if your blog is called Ditto That then set up a Twitter account and Facebook page called Ditto That and promote links to these pages from your blog. If you have multiple blogs also create a master Facebook page and offer a follow option on your blog pages for this too. Also promote your other blogs in your Blogroll section on each blog.
#2. Get likes on your Facebook Fan Pages
I have used many tools for this but the hands down winner on all fronts is Twiends in my opinion. Visit the site, register and start getting followers straight away. While alot of these followers will never actually visit your page to activate the LIKE option (this is done through the Twiends interface) – the chances are that if your posts are interesting then you can attract their attention at a later date and retain their LIKE.
The key use for these follow sites is to get a start. If your Facebook link shows you have 10 fans – are others going to follow you? Probably not. If it shows 300 – then your chances are greater. The Twiends “currency” is SEEDS – get seeds by following others or purchasing from the site.
If you are struggling to get the most out of Facebook with the new format then check out this article for some tips on how to manage.
#3. Get Twitter & YouTube followers
Get a tool to manage all those tweets that you will be sending and receiving – check out this article to see four useful Twitter automation tools and how to use them. The same rule for followers applies to Twitter and YouTube as to Facebook – the more followers the better. It shows potential followers that lots of others value your content and increases the likelihood of getting organic follows from your blog pages.
Twiends also offers this service but also check out TweetBig. TweetBig offer a scheduled services that avoids you getting into bother with the powers that be for aggressive following. Twiends also offers a scheduler to help avoid this problem. If you ignore the rules your accounts will be suspended by Twitter and Facebook. See #4 below for more information on these rules. Drip feeding and spreading out your follows is the way around this and both sites allow you to do this.
Take a look at this great article for 5 New Twitter Tools worth exploring. To get an idea of how many followers others on Twitter have see this interesting graphic:
#4. Understand the Twitter and Facebook site rules
(From Tweet Spinner) “There’s no use blindly follow everyone who tweets certain words. The result isn’t pretty. Sure, you will have a couple of decent new friends, but by and large you are going to end up with a huge number of spammers and other pesky new “friends”. That’s just not good. (And it’s also against Twitter’s rules, and you risk losing your account!)”.
Make sure you check out and familiarise yourself with the rules on aggressive following or liking – otherwise you could find months of work wasted when your account is revoked.
In the next post of this series I will expand on marketing techniques that extend your reach even further. If you want to be notified when I post this then please subscribe to my blog using the options in the sidebar.
Check out what OWJO have just released. Anyone can now make sales directly in the Facebook News Feed – no clickoffs. What does this mean? – simply put – anyone can sell to anyone else right there in the FB News Feed – payments included.
OWJO enables commercial activity where people naturally gather and interact online, for example in Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Twitter, YouTube etc. OWJO is a portable online store that can be set up anywhere online. OWJO can be added to any part of a seller’s website, blog, social media page or any other digital property, all managed from one centralised and feature rich user interface.
An OWJO store can exist in multiple locations and can exist in several places simultaneously. This means that multiple stores can be selling for the user at different points all over the internet at the same time at no extra cost. One of the key features of the OWJO store is that potential buyers will not leave the sellers site or page to buy the product (digital or physical) but can purchase instantly on the seller’s OWJO store. There is no leaving or “clicking off” for another e-commerce destination site.
Visit www.owjo.com for details on how to sign up for this free service – all you pay is 7% of the sale price when a purchase is made.Extensive FAQs answer address a host of questions that a prospective seller might have. The store in the Facebook news feed looks like this:
The gold rush mentality is pervasive in every boom. Typically several things occur. It begins with someone finding the metaphorical “gold”. This makes other observers feel that what was before unrealistic is now possible. Lots of “wet behind the ears” pioneers head out into the wilderness with little more than a spoon and cup – namely unprepared.
The wise one’s stay put and sell the spoons and cups. Some “spoon” sellers place huge mark-up’s on their inventory and while this yields impressive short term results; it all ends in tears. Fewer still supply the spoons and cups and all the other tools that are needed, at a reasonable price, and make money slowly but steadily by selling people the tools they need. They make money for themselves and their friends.
A recent issue of Media Life lays out a compelling case making the current enthusiasm for social media sound a lot like the “irrational exuberance” that led to the dot com bubble crash of 2001. Consider this, Facebook is now valued at $65 billion and Twitter who have yet to come up with a stable model for how it will make money is valued at $5 billion.
These companies with their mind boggling amount of daily users suffer from what appears to be a lot of weak, artificial connections. What some observers call “thin relationships”. How many people use Facebook to post photos of their latest exploits and never intend to reach for the credit card? How many don’t own a credit card? How many will even pay a $1 yearly sub to post their photographic testimonials?
These pillars of the social media love story are valuing their businesses on tens of millions of users who are, at best, what could be considered low-quality connections. Consumers and suppliers of content who are unlikely to yield meaningful, lasting relationships and more importantly revenue.
But that doesn’t mean that Facebook and Twitter have not got massive potential for revenue. However, they need to start discounting large numbers of their subscriber base as neutral or negative contributors to their bottom line. Even if Facebook discounted its subscriber base by 90% yielding a valuation of $6.5 billion and likewise Twitter at $500m; it would still yield a return representing many multiples of what was invested.
More importantly it would help avoid the inevitable “rolling of the eyes and turning away” that such inflated valuations caused back in the day when the dot.com bubble burst; thus making it difficult – if not impossible – for other good ideas to get properly funded. The dot.com bubble burst in Europe was precursed by lastminute.com who got away at a valuation of Stg£750m off the back of a turnover of Stg£195k in 1999; a staggering multiple of over 3800 of earnings to value.
One year later, it was trading at a valuation of Stg£80m. But lastminute.com has also been one of the dot.com survivors, indeed successes, and by 2004 had a turnover of almost Stg£440m producing operating profits of Stg£7.5m. In 2005, it was acquired by Sabre Holdings in a Stg£600m deal. There are four good reasons for this success story that are just as relevant to social media start-up’s today – brand, timing, innovation and management.
Sequoia Capital, Bain Capital Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank have just bet $41m on color.com based mainly on these principles. VCs have been building a psychological profile of the company that would “kill”– or at least compete with — Facebook for the past year or two.
So far, this magical company will be mobile first, since Facebook apparently sucks at mobile and have some new spin on how the social network is formed – that’s the innovation bits. Be led by a hungry entrepreneur coming off a big hit – that’s the management. Leverage one or both of the primary drivers of Facebook traffic – photos and social games that are still open to competitors – that’s timing. And of course, the site will have a killer domain name – that’s the brand bit.
(Thanks to the launch blog at http://launch.is/ for these last four insights.)
The fact is that companies and individuals who are attracted to social media by the buzz of shiny success stories will bear the brunt of any correction. Those that spent the time and money in the short-term to invest in a stable, sustainable and value-adding social media presence will reap long-term returns.
Please let me have your comments and whether you agree or disagree with this post.
The following articles were referenced in this post:
Steve Kidd; Penticton Western News; http://www.bclocalnews.com/opinion/119001889.html; bclocalnews.com;
Umair Haque; Harvard Business Today; http://blogs.hbr.org/haque/2010/03/the_social_media_bubble.html;
Josh Gordon; Social Media Today; http://socialmediatoday.com/joshgordon/110694/are-we-social-media-bubble
Social media provides a scalable medium to allow athletes to be more accessible which in turn increases the affinity for the athlete. Creating a relatable image whereby athletes are considered regular people off the field pays significant dividends. Some athletes are ahead of the curve but they are barely skimming the surface of what can be done as regards engagement and interaction using social media. Deliberately building an athlete’s brand is good for everyone involved. Fans receive the interaction and engagement they want and love, the athlete recoups their investment by selling more merchandise. The athlete makes more money and increases the probability of more lucrative sponsorship based on a strong social media reach. It boils down to a simple equation:
Marketable Athlete + Social Media = Increased athlete affinity, increased sales, increased engagement and increased revenue.
OWJO helps increase fan engagement in a lasting way by fulfilling the online engagement with specialised merchandising. OWJO creates opportunities for additional revenue sources for the athlete or sports personality and helps the athlete connect more directly with the fans, taking advantage of rapid changes in popularity based on real world events such as tournament or game wins.
Home sites do not fulfil this engagement dynamic with fans and destination sites (portals) have shopping as an afterthought. On all social media sports pages – even if they do cater for this exchange – fans click away to complete the transaction, potentially losing the engagement.
OWJO allows the athlete to connect with fans on all web touch points while taking advantage of event based peaks in interest such as tournament performance and wins, news events and so on by using the lightning fast OWJO product configurator to deliver bespoke product based on these events. Versatility is key in Sports Marketing and OWJO delivers versatility on all counts.
Articles referenced in this post:
“Athletes, Brands & Social Media” Davyeon Ross. August 17. 2008. <http://www.sportsmarketing20.com/profiles/blogs/1736840:BlogPost:20778>
"Roundup of Social Commerce Predictions for 2011: Phase 3 (Sophistication)." Social Commerce Today. Web. 18 Feb. 2011. <http://socialcommercetoday.com/roundup-of-social-commerce-predictions-for-201…>.
"5 Ways Facebook Will Impact E-commerce." Social Media News and Web Tips Mashable, The Social Media Guide. Web. 18 Feb. 2011.
Next Generation Commerce is often talked about but rarely the promises are actually delivered on. That is until now. OWJO offers a fundamentally new way of increasing a retailer’s presence and fostering ubiquity all from a central interface that can populate multiple instances of the OWJO storefront across any number of digital properties and facilitate access using any number of devices.
As a result of the centralised and hosted interface previous barriers to entry such as hardware, software, hosting and maintenance costs as well as the need to have merchant accounts and other facilities are removed. They are present out of the box with the OWJO solution. In addition, due to the single point of control, consumer behaviour is measurable and monitored across all properties without the need for costly integration with these third party websites.
The consumer is capable of being tracked across all digital properties and new product offerings created and offered in real time based on their behaviour. This is true three hundred and sixty degree business intelligence. This represents the “holy grail” of ecommerce functionality which has been the quest of the digital channel since its inception.
OWJO offers this capability to any retailer regardless of size because of the revenue model whereby OWJO only charge a percentage on completed transactions. Now that social media has empowered the individual to connect directly with their customers OWJO represents a killer app and a fundamental shift in the direction, focus and strategy of ecommerce.
With OWJO a widget exists at all the touch points Retailers Home Website; Third Party Sites; Portals; Social Media Outlets; even Blogs and can be customised for each if required. A new footprint can be added simply and in real time. The buying decision is never deferred and there are no click-offs required to complete the transaction.
The process is owned end to end on the digital property on which it is initiated and the consumer, using the email address with which they registered against their first purchase with OWJO, is trackable by the retailer regardless of where the purchase is initiated.
OWJO can be embedded within tweets; on Facebook or MySpace tabs; in the advertising section of YouTube; within blogs posts on WordPress; on websites with a simple update of HTML; anywhere. OWJO facilitates commerce everywhere and anywhere for no increased cost on any variable.
With traditional ecommerce a retailer typically hosts a storefront on their website. Advertising and marketing efforts drive traffic to the site and prospective purchasers can choose to pay for their merchandise with a credit / debit card or get re-directed to a payment provider such as PayPal. The purchaser then completes the transaction and goods are shipped. The retailer may host its own infrastructure to provide this service – namely software, hardware and in-house IT staff or they may choose to outsource it to a hosting partner. The catalogue outlining merchandise, pricing and shipping details and the management of customer transactions are typically kept in-house, the latter requiring the retailer to arrange a Merchant Account with their bank to facilitate credit / debit cards payments and so forth.
More advanced retailers may provide links to their sites from affiliates and partners and in some cases will provide their catalogue for use with other ecommerce engines on complimentary sites. Any purchases made on these third party sites may or may not be visible to the retailer and to understand external interactions with their catalogue and merchandise they must put in place some data sharing protocol with these external sites so that marketing intelligence is fed back to the source retailer. However, the same customer may not look the same on the retailers own site as they do on an external site – they may have a different username; personal details; email address and so on. Therefore the task of understanding patterns in the behaviour of consumers becomes more difficult.
Very few retailers have the advertising and marketing budgets to drive large volumes of traffic to their sites and to promote their products on third party sites. Even fewer have the ability in the event that they do succeed in driving traffic to understand the consumers’ behaviour across all connected sites and to provide sticky enough content to ensure that the consumer returns for repeat purchases. For the individual looking to monetise their content, promote an event or sell tickets to a concert then all of these elements – web site development, affiliate network management, hardware costs, software costs, merchant accounts, maintenance costs, hosting costs, customer service and so on are barriers to commerce transactions for all but a few.
These barriers prevent a huge proportion of online commerce from taking place. Imagine the latent demand that exists for incidental commerce transactions such as the garage band who wants to promote a once off gig or sell a small issue EP – they cannot justify the time, cost and effort to set up even the most basic ecommerce functionality to promote these types of transactions but there is no doubt of the demand for these transactions in an online format, if they were available. That is where OWJO disrupts the traditional model. It allows – in particular with social media integration – the monetisation of vast amounts of bespoke content, specialist merchandise and other incidental products that otherwise would never transact over the digital channels. In addition, it is scalable enough to meet the demand should the “viral effect” take place. While allowing this it also makes available to these retailers a level of sophistication in business intelligence, personalisation and marketing informatics that only the largest retailers can afford to invest in at present. All for free until a transaction takes place.
The key feature of OWJO, aside from the depth of functionality it offers, is the way the consumer interacts with an OWJO hosted ecommerce solution and the view that the retailer has of that consumers behaviour across otherwise unknown or invisible interactions with their merchandise. Check it out at www.owjo.com – it is free to set up and own. You only pay 7% when a purchase is made which compares to 30% for FB credits and 15% plus on eBay. OWJO will take care of the payment processing so you don’t even need a merchant account to be in a position to accept every available credit and debit card. Also and most importantly there are no “click-offs” – the transaction takes place right there on your store whether that be in the FB news feed, on your blog, website of iPhone app.
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