The Social Media Affect

A Fine Line Between Helpful and Hurtful

A great article from Practical eCommerce talks about the ways social media can affect your brand and shares some great statistics and examples to boot. There was once a time where product ratings and reviews were left to the experts, but that time has long passed. Now, anyone with a keyboard and connection to the web can proclaim themselves the next Roger Ebert (I know, I know, we’re not talking about movies, but you get my point). Customer experiences, good or bad, are made public for all to see, and constant innovation is needed by retailers to stay connected to their customers. As a retailer, if you’re doing things right you can reap the benefits of seeing your products reviewed all over the Internet, but a few wrong moves, and the negative attention can put you in a choke hold.

According to Nielsen and NM Incite, “a full 25 percent are vindictive when they write about brand-related experiences.” I’m one of those that takes everything I read with a grain of salt, just for this very reason. People feel entitled to bash retailers, sometimes for good reason, but sometimes just because they can. Whether experiencing the good, the bad, or the downright ugly, it shows that good customer service is more crucial now than ever before. People are listening, watching, and more importantly, writing at a frenzied pace about their experiences and revelations.


Wal-Mart Launches New Social Media Tool

F-commerce is at the forefront again with the recent launch of Shopycat, a new Facebook tool rolled out by retail giant Wal-Mart. Zak Stambor over at Internet Retailer details this new feature in his latest post. In a nutshell, Shopycat is intended to give shoppers the upper hand when buying gifts by providing personalized gift recommendations for your Facebook friends. Shopycat, with the users’ permission of course, will peruse the Facebook posts and “Likes” of your friends and provide customized recommendations from the 600,000 listings on, including items gathered from 20 additional retail sites.

Wal-Mart says they will not charge affiliate fees for those companies whom they send business too, claiming that “offering recommendations for other retailers is about presenting shoppers with the best possible user experience.” Oh Wal-Mart, such a friendly giant. We’ll see how long that lasts, but for now, happy shopycatting.


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