Social Shopping (continued)

Congratulations to my friend Gary Vaynerchuk of the Wine Library for his acquisition of Cork’d (see Mashable and the Alarm Clock for coverage).  When I had dinner with Gary a few months ago we talked about how the next big opportunity for e-commerce was to weave social networking and blogging tools into the existing infrastructure to directly drive transactions (see excerpt below from an earlier post on social shopping).

The next step in this evolution of commerce will be social shopping or companies leveraging Citizen’s Media (blogs, podcasts, videocasts, tagging) to drive commerce.  According to, "Social Shopping is based on the principles outlined in the wisdom of crowds where a large group of users can recommend products to each other and between them work out what to buy and which ones have the most buzz." I believe this is an interesting area that has not been fully tapped yet.  At the root of it, people want to connect.  Most people I know tend to check the Internet first to research a purchase and also ask friends for recommendations or reviews about products.  The more inefficient a market is, the more opportunity there is to educate consumers and peers leveraging the web.

While the Alarm Clock calls this a roll up in the wine space, I view this as the beginnings of the return of the 3 Cs (content, community, and commerce) with a year 2007 flair.  Speaking of the 3 Cs, I also noticed that Amazon bought dpreview yesterday, a leading provider of digital camera reviews and information.  Amazon acquiring a content site may sound odd but we must remember that one of Amazon’s competitive advantages is its huge database of consumer reviews. As commerce sites begin to recognize the value of content and community again, I wonder who is next on the hit list?

Published by Ed Sim

founder boldstart ventures, over 20 years experience seeding and leading first rounds in enterprise startups, @boldstartvc, googlization of IT, SaaS 3.0, security, smart data; cherish family time + enjoy lacrosse + hockey

3 comments on “Social Shopping (continued)”

  1. Remember that Amazon has owned for years, so their strategy of buying a site revered by its community is not new.

  2. Good eye on the dpreview acquistion. I remember using that site extensively in planning my first digital camera purchase and that was before it had all the consumer reviews. That site started as just one guy reviewing cameras I believe. I don’t think there was a business plan or an exit strategy. 😉

    Some people put a lot of stock into the peer reviews on Amazon, but at the same time based on the Church of the Customer team’s research 90-99% of people don’t contribute much to the community so I think the reviews are either overly positive or overly negative, though some dedicated community members do pride themselves on the quality of their contributions. These would probably fall into the 1% that “Citizen Marketers” is refering too.

    Courting the 1% and building communities around products or services is only going to become a bigger focus, as it is cost effective, measureable, and if done right is good for the brand.

    I guess I should look into the next book the Book Club is suppose to read “Made to Stick”…

  3. I think your mention of the return of the 3C’s is correct, but I would adjust the last C, “commerce” a little bit. I’d call it “conversion”.

    I would also say that ecommerce and social media will get to be better friends moving forward – potentially opening up the field to new platforms and advertising models.

    Then I would ask – are niche retailers currently taking full advantage of pro/am niche content producers?

    Just some thoughts.

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