http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/323632

Review: 8thBridge launches Graphite as the next wave of social commerce Special

Posted Apr 25, 2012 by Anthony Carranza
8thBridge wants to make possible for customers to shop where they socialize and socialize where they shop. The Minneapolis-based company looks to reshape ecommerce around people.
Minneapolis-based social commerce company unveils the new era of social commerce.
8thBridge
Minneapolis-based social commerce company unveils the new era of social commerce.
Minn. (MN)—the Minneapolis-based company 8thBridge launched a new interactive platform for social commerce. The company’s initiatives, development and efforts have centered on the idea of commerce on social media sites like Facebook. With its new platform called “Graphite” it paves the way for new type social shopping experiences.
8thBridge meanwhile a couple of days earlier was selected by Facebook into the Preferred Marketing Developer program-which will make the company undergo an extensive review process. The presentation made a day earlier was on the idea of reshaping ecommerce while making shopping experiences more social.
The live-streamed event highlighted significant changes for how marketers and businesses alike can tailor their efforts in a more effective way manner. According to the CEO of 8thBridge, the new Graphite platform was built from the ground up that moves beyond traditional ecommerce ideas, but instead focuses on people.
"This is the most significant innovation in social commerce since 8thBridge created the category in 2009 when we completed the first sale on Facebook," said founder Wade Gerten. "We believe Graphite will usher in a new era of social commerce by making it easy to integrate social shopping capabilities into existing channels."
There are tons of success stories with an equal amount of failed attempts to fully integrate a shopping experience that is consistent with consumer buying habits. But is Facebook Commerce too much hype? How is that different than buying on a retailers or company’s website? In order to answer it’s important to implement a successful strategy and refrain from staying in the old mind set of traditional ecommerce. Mapping out social interactions is what becomes more relevant to fit a brands or company’s user base.
"Real social commerce scale required it to move from its point solution beginnings to a more integrated approach," said Jon Kubo, Chief Product Officer at 8thBridge. "Until today, this integration required too much internal technical support to accomplish it. Graphite solves this problem by making multi-channel social commerce as easy to implement as the Facebook Like button."
In addition, the Graphite can be summarized into three core elements that will evolve the shopping experiences produced on Facebook. They are Social Expressions, Shoppable Stories and Interest Graph API.
In the case of Social Expressions it’s safe to say the Like button for businesses or retailers was not enough of a driver for consumers to feel compelled to purchase a product on the social network. So within Graphite, shoppers could express emotions about their shopping endeavors and in turn become advocates of the brand by expressing truly how they feel about the product or brand. This component once is shared creates valuable awareness for Facebook’s products like Timeline, Ticker and the News Feed for users to see.
With the launch of this marketing tool, the list of buttons now available on Graphite are specifically catered to consumer’s emotions and mentioned below:
• Own
• Want
• Love
• Wore
• Need
• Advice
• Smile
• Gimme
• I Can't Wait to Wear
• Ask a Friend
• Have
The Shoppable Stories is another essential ingredient in this chapter of commerce. The idea is to keep the shoppers on Facebook without leaving the site that will in turn and create a rich-brand controlled experience. A person who shares a brand’s products with other friends or contacts on their network, the new platform translates this interaction into a visible Shoppable Stories. According to their findings, this element is likely to be engaged eighteen times more.
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8thBridge
Finally with the Interest Graph API, throughout the video it’s supposed to be a seamless integration that works with existing systems to scale opportunity. In other words, the data collected will be compatible with today’s marketing systems and brands can maximize how people will be exposed to real personalized shopping experiences.
Launch partners using the new Graphite Platform
The lists of businesses or retailers for this new wave of social commerce are those who leveraged some level of success prior to Graphite becoming readily available on Facebook. They are the following:
American Apparel, Inc., Avon/mark, Deb Shops, ELLE, Guitar Center, Inc., Hallmark Cards, Inc., Hayneedle.com, Musician's Friend, Inc., Nasty Gal, Nine West, Oscar de la Renta, Plum District, TOMS, and Woodwind & Brasswind.
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8thBridge
Takeaways
This platform is certain to be leveraged in a relevant manner that fits the identity of each different brand. Furthermore, it seems Graphite will unleash a revolutionary social commerce experience while increasing revenue for vendors.
However, its implementation outside of the social commerce sphere for other industries is certainly to be modeled after. Pinterest is an example of how the social component is key and its functionality illustrates to an extent how people’s interests or emotions are real with the use of an image. Not only is it driving exponential traffic to its site, but it’s tailored its website in a way that truly resonates with users nowadays because it’s redefined the social networking experience.
The customization of buttons allows users to express emotions around a product or service. This evolution of new buttons is certainly going to be an area heavily explored, tested and implemented to fit the different industries using social networking. After all, the content we post about a product or a story we want to tell about it is not always going be viral or easily popular in the same way.