Internewscast
Image default
Business

Riding The Wave Of Social Commerce, MeSpoke Rewards Consumers For Sharing

Social commerce is not new. It’s been going on for millennia, with people shopping together and influencing each other’s purchases.

Only in the digital age, social commerce has taken on a new meaning: the intersection of social media and e-commerce. Today social commerce combines discovery, shopping, and purchasing into one seamless customer journey that starts and ends on social media.

“The sheer amount of time spent by people, especially younger generations, on social media apps has positioned social commerce as the indisputable market breakout trend for e-commerce in the coming years,” writes fellow Forbes.com contributor Jia Wertz.

As a rapidly evolving market, it is largely measured by sales transacted on the major social network platforms. EMarketer estimates $23.3 billion in sales will be conducted this way in 2020 by some 76 million U.S. users, totaling nearly 40% of all social network users.

Recommended For You

But Sid K. Hasan, founder of MeSpoke, contends that this definition of social commerce doesn’t go nearly far enough. He argues that it is just another B2C e-commerce play with social media advertisers and paid influencers pushing out marketing messages with the intent of making a sale.

Whether such transactions occur on social media, without ever leaving the social media platform, is still just another example of channel-centric thinking. It isn’t a big transformative idea.

“The breakthrough idea of social commerce is consumer-to-consumer-to-brand (C2C2B), rather than just another way of conducting B2C commerce,” Hasan says. Or to put it another way, “The customer is the channel,” as expressed by fellow Forbes.com contributor Steve Dennis in his book, Remarkable Retail.

Social commerce starts with a consumer who influences another customer, whether it happens over coffee at Starbucks – “I love those leggings, where did you get them?” – or originates in a social media post – “I love these great Lululemon leggings” – and ends in a transaction, whether conducted in a store, on the brand website, or on Facebook or Instagram. That’s the transformative idea of consumers at the center of social commerce.

“Here you have two consumers that inspired a sale and the brand had nothing to do with it,” Hasan continues. “The brand just becomes the order taker. Social commerce is essentially where people socially, either digitally or physically-speaking, inspire one another to stylize, accessorize, and transact with a brand.”

Since the consumer is both the channel and advertiser through the user-generated content (UGC) they create, Hasan reasons they should be rewarded as other channel and advertising partners are.

Looking for inspiration, he recalled his mother who sold Tupperware back in the day and more recently Rodan and Fields, which were both a riff on multilevel or network marketing. “These models had a lot of value and were very compelling, but their reputation got tarnished as being pyramid schemes,” he says.

With a background in technology and wanting to harness the power of network marketing without its taint, he developed MeSpoke, which he describes as a social engagement platform.

It is an app that allows users to create their own style content with embedded hashtags back to brands that they can share with other users on the platform. If another MeSpoke user goes on to conduct a transaction with the tagged brand, the originating content creator gets reward points they can redeem for subsequent purchases.

“MeSpoke empowers everyday users to be rewarded for the content they create and share while serving as free influencers for their favorite brands and retailers,” Hasan says and adds brands and retailers will be able to build even deeper connections with those originating content creators through special promotions and offers.

Using artificial intelligence, the MeSpoke app has been trained to automatically recognize clothing and fashion accessories in an uploaded picture, making the users’ brand-tagging process easy.

Its proprietary technology has just been awarded a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which Hasan sees having the potential to disrupt the retail digital advertising industry.

MeSpoke’s protective patent is especially timely, as emerging web 3.0 privacy concerns are poised to strip advertisers of their ability to track users’ online footprint to serve up targeted content and advertisements.

“Apple’s recently announced iOS 14.0 puts users in charge of which applications can track their online activity,” he says. “It’s a feature estimated to disrupt the multi-billion dollar advertisement industry, sending advertisers scrambling to find new ways of reaching their audience. Facebook, Instagram and the giants of the social media world are now put on notice. ”

MeSpoke is being positioned as a workaround that fills the gap for retailers and brands to reach beyond paid influencers and online advertisements directly to loyal brand enthusiasts.

“MeSpoke prides itself in making available a platform that puts users first and allows them to reap the benefit of their own created content,” Hasan says. “At the same time, MeSpoke allows brands and retailers to reach and develop a loyal base of customers more effectively through everyday users championing their products and brand with no capital investment. In other words, MeSpoke is presenting both sides with a win-win solution.”

To date, MeSpoke has been downloaded from the Apple App Store by users in 66 countries through word-of-mouth alone. But with the patent now secured, it will begin more active marketing to bring new users in. MeSpoke revenues will be generated by commissions on sales made.

Conceptually, I am impressed with the thinking that has gone into MeSpoke. But practically, it faces hurdles. It is essentially another social media platform that primarily serves up commercial content. I, for one, am not particularly interested in being fed advertising from my friends, nor am I interested in wearing their same outfits or adopting their style.

But then, as a Baby Boomer, I am not the targeted user for MeSpoke. It’s for GenZ and younger Millennials who are more strongly influenced by their peers.

Remarkable Retail author Steve Dennis writes, “Many consumer purchases are motivated by what seems like two paradoxical forces: the desire to be distinctive and the desire to belong.”

MeSpoke plays to a greater extent to that belonging desire, though to a lesser extent being distinctive. I can envision groups of friends making a game out of tagging, sharing, buying, and further spreading the distinctive looks they create and the items they purchase.

MeSpoke becomes a platform for the expression of conspicuous consumption. It gives the conspicuous consumer a new way to be conspicuous and be rewarded in the process.

Source:

Related posts

Leave a Comment