Sandi MacPherson, Editor-in-Chief at Quibb

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Product Manager at Amazon

Social commerce definitely still has a long way to go. It's just so complex that I'd consider buying different products in social commerce to have complete opposite social ramifications. IE Buying cool stuff (that super cool coat you were eyeing), buying super private stuff (medication or personal hygiene), and everything interesting and mundane in between.

The problem is that so much can go wrong, so many big ecommerce sites shy away from creating a super awesome/natural social experience, and to agree w/ what Sean said, instead add an easy (but user-controlled so totally safe) social layer that doesn't really do anything.

I think the trick to creating great discovery is somehow segmenting intent and products because people will want to adopt different identities depending on the purchase. I have no idea how one platform can allow customers to import or create all the desired identities, though. Definitely looking forward to being impressed someday soon :).

Product at Dropbox

"From the shopper's perspective, the benefit of this kind of platform is in the thrill of discovery, and the sharing of those discoveries, which is addictive and life-enhancing."

This is very true. While I prefer the experience of shopping in person, I shop online to discover interesting things. To my knowledge, there is no algorithm (yet) that can produce for me a list of beautiful, purchasable, and delightfully quirky objects - so I continue to rely on others' recommendations to find them.

Senior User Experience Designer at Return Path

Nice write up, Sean. I recently discovered Wanelo and was really impressed with how quickly I was sucked into the experience. My girlfriend (and her friends, and their friends) confirmed this soon thereafter.

One observation from a buyer's perspective is that the dividing line between a buyer's social circle and shopping habits is delicate. I think the strategy a merchant uses to approach they buyer's network is a critical piece of the puzzle that many merchants are getting wrong. It's not a shotgun approach and it needs to be intelligently customized based on the buyer's interactions.

Blindly asking a buyer to invite the merchant into their circle (a common tactic with the e-commerce 'like this' approach) feels invasive and cheap. Whereas, timing the interaction to coincide with the right buyer's moment can feel like the merchant is helping the buyer build social capital.

I can't wait to see what else Wanelo turns out!

VP, Product at Distribute

Yes, I think you hit upon a really core point. This medium is essentially conversational, but some sellers naturally look for shortcuts. It isn't hard to see why when you look at their reality. So can you create an environment that discourages the shotgun approach and still meets the needs of both parties? That's basically what keeps me up at night.

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