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By Kate Enright Facebook began dabbling in ecommerce about 3 years ago when 1-800-flowers set up the first Facebook virtual storefront and began selling through the social media giant. The idea of “F-Commerce” then began to take off in early 2011 with many large brands deciding to take advantage of large fan bases on the site. Few doubted the success of selling to Facebook fans, but those who did, slated it from the beginning. The doubters were proved right when at the start of 2012 a list of big names pulled out of the F-Commerce game due to lack of return on investment. Gamestop, one of the largest retailers on Facebook closed its store saying it was “not a place to sell”. It turned out that people did not want to buy from their “favourite” retailers through Facebook. But now Facebook have changed tack and come back to the ecommerce table with a whole new game plan. Gifts. [caption id="attachment_716" align="aligncenter" width="453"] Facebook Gifts Pilot[/caption]

By Kate Enright So we’ve all heard of online “friend finders”, dating sites and of course our favourite social media sites, Facebook and Twitter. Millions of us use these tools to connect with people every day. We log in to our online profiles, we search for people we know, barely know, just met, haven’t yet met…and we find out everything there is to know about them. from their physical appearance to their likes and interests even their relationship status (don’t deny it). But what about taking this data and using it in the physical world? Making all this information available as part of our reality. Well we can now do just that with a flexible little wristband called Amico. Amico was developed by a startup called Trovare as a way of bringing Facebook into the real world. All those online connections and details we have access to can now be used in real life to help us connect with people who have the same interests as us and face-to-face too (imagine that)! [caption id="attachment_709" align="aligncenter" width="468"] Amico Wristbands in Green[/caption]

By Kate Enright [caption id="attachment_692" align="aligncenter" width="525"] Google's Project Glass at NY Fashion Week 2012[/caption]   Your eyes do not deceive you, this is in fact a runway at New York Fashion Week and those are Google Glasses on heads of the super models. Looks like the final gap was bridged between geek and chic when Diane Von Furstenburg added Google’s augmented reality headgear as part of her Spring 2013 collection this week.

Merchant Account = Headache –> Stripe = Merchant Account

Stripe payments, as many of you will know, is the company founded by Patrick and John Collison which specializes in simple, fully embedded payments systems that developers love. It’s being heralded as the gateway that will do for in-app payments and e-Commerce what one-click payments has done for the App Store and Amazon. The API is so simple to use that Stripe has been able to carve out a nice primary customer-base by getting startups and some mid-size clients to use their system (mainly because it embeds like a native payments system and is so easy to integrate). Integration has been known to take as little as 2 days. One hard fact about the payment card industry is that the barriers to entry are high. However Stripe is implementing a strategy that allows them to infiltrate companies from within by helping the people who organize eCommerce solutions and manage projects forget about all the monotony of getting a merchant account, finding a good payment service provide and then tying it all together. Stripe is a quick solution that brings these elements together. But isn’t that just like PayPal or Google Checkout? Yes, but no. There are a number of indirect competitors to Stripe that have garnered interest in the press lately (think of Square getting investment from Starbucks). While PayPal does offer an all-in-one solution for taking payments, the service bounces the user to PayPal’s website to conclude transactions, something that severely decreases the conversion rate (which is about 45%). Stripe’s solution is a bunch of APIs for all popular coding languages that integrates the entire experience within your website or app, but without the implications of going to banks for merchant agreements, finding compatible gateway software (from PSPs) and integrating the whole thing.

by Kate Enright Today there are an increasing number of channels for consumers to complete purchases. Some take advantage of these and some don’t, but which type consumers make a more significant value increase for the retailer? First of all, let’s take a look at what’s out there. Currently, we have the traditional “brick-and-mortar” high street stores, the old-school brochure ordering systems, ecommerce sites, social media platform integration, in-store online installations, and mobile commerce is exploding with mobile sites and apps becoming increasingly popular for smart shoppers. So what most retailers want to know is; is it worth their while investing in multiple channels? And if they do, will it increase sales and improve loyalty?

Agos’s Multichannel Campaign was a triumph of true multichannel

Accounted for 43% of revenue in 2009

by Kate Enright Making it easier for your customers to socially interact inside your store is essential for ensuring that you are making the most of your access to the ever growing world of social recommendations. How you do this could make all the difference. Sure, they can use their smart phones to take pictures of items they are interested in and text them to a friend, but this is cutting out a world of free promotion for you on social networks. They also have the option of using social shopping apps like ShopWithIt but often these can end up driving customers away from stores by giving price comparisons upon scanning the bar code. They can be advised, for example, that Amazon has the product cheaper online and give them the option to order it. In order to steer away from this, why not provide the method of sharing yourself? This just means that while in your store, your customers can login to their social network of choice, add a picture and your store location will not miss out. [caption id="attachment_571" align="aligncenter" width="229"] ShopWith.It[/caption]