In late 2010, at Web 2.0 Summit Google VP of Product Management Susan Wojcicki spent just under 15 minutes presenting new services that Google had recently released (video here) to make the upcoming holiday experience a more enjoyable experience both for shoppers and advertisers. Although much of what she demoed was very interesting, the most telling bit of information was what she shared to set the stage.

According to her research, 42% of in-store sales are influenced by online shopping searches. I think you would agree that’s a pretty significant number, but even more surprising was what followed. Susan shared that 7% of purchasing is currently done online while 93% is still done at physical store locations. That number is quite staggering. Considering the billions of dollars spent online each year, there is still plenty of pie left for brick and mortar businesses to have their fill. That is why Google, Facebook, Apple, Paypal and others are lining their crosshairs on not just one target, but three!

The worlds of mobile, social, and location based technology is on course to converge into a powerhouse platform for businesses to use online to drive consumers to local businesses. Last year, Google alone says they say a 30 x increase in mobile shopping queries. As Susan subtly mentions, internet enabled phones enable shoppers to be both online and offline at the same time. This is why, in October 2010, Google made an important move by moving one of their savviest executives, Marissa Mayer, into the lead role as the Vice President of Location and Local Services. With Google since 1999, she filled the important role of Vice President of Search Product and User Experience. That move alone shows how important Google sees that 93% of the pie.

Last January Facebook, the name probably most closely associated with social, made a statement that mobile would be their focus for their platform during 2011. This of course ins’t to make it easier for us to update our status on the go. It is because they understand that, with such a strong social presence, their vulnerability lies in their ability to quickly enhance the location based services. This can only be done by making a rockin’ mobile platform that goes way beyond simply mimicking what the website does.

There are a number of influence points that the previously mentioned companies are trying to become your go-to resource for:

  • Availability: Is the product available in the store right now?
  • Proximity: How close is the desired product/service?
  • Price: Which store around me has the best price?
  • Transaction: Which option provides me the easiest, quickest shopping experience?

Social will play an ever increasing role in how guyers spend their money within that 93%. The influence that friend and families have to sway purchasing decisions is immense and grows proportionately as social media penetrates into mainstream society.

Here is a taste of what social can add to the equation:

  • Social Recommendations: What do my friends have to say about this business, product or service.
  • Social Reviews: What does the crowd have to say about the product or service I am interested in.
  • Social Incentives: Get perks and discounts for social interactions like checking in, becoming the mayor, etc.
  • Social Discovery: The experiences of my connections and others with similar interests become visible when I interact with things around me.

Much of what social can do to influence buying decisions has been happening for at least a couple years, but on your desktop/laptop computer. Always connected, location aware, mobile devices open the playing field in ways that marketers are only recently starting to understand.

Learning to be “Social-Loco”

So what’s next? Well I would like to invite you to join me on May 5th to attend “Social-Loco: the convergence of the social web, mobile and local-business“. Some of the best and brightest in the industry will be speaking including the previously mentioned Marissa Mayer from Google as well as executives from Groupon, Facebook, Microsoft, Foursquare and more. I am also happy to be participating as a panelist during the session titled “Back to the Future: reinventing brand loyalty”.

Want to win a free ticket to Social-Loco?

I have 1 FREE ticket that I would like to giveaway to our Social Media Explorer readers. In order to win, visit the sessions page at socialloco.net, find a session that sounds interesting to you and share the name of it in the comments on this post along with why the session topic interests you. On Friday I will choose a winner at random and provide you details on how to claim your ticket.

You can also skip the fun and get 20% off the “Social-Loco” conference registration price if you register using this link or enter the discount code “adam20

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About Adam Helweh

Adam Helweh

Adam is CEO of Secret Sushi Creative Inc, a strategic design, digital and social media marketing agency. He specializes in the convergence of design and technology to provide businesses with more intelligent and interactive ways to connect with customers and grow. His clients have included Edelman, Broadcom, Stanford Federal Credit Union, the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, Bunchball and others. He's also the co-host of the "SoLoMo Show", a weekly digital marketing podcast, and he has shared the stage with professionals from companies including Facebook, Virgin Airlines, Paypal, Dell and 24 Hour Fitness.

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://twitter.com/irajcohen Ira J Cohen

    Intrigued by the “Big Bad Ass Data: holy grail of consumer engagement” session. Any session combining “ass” & “data” in it’s title is bound (no pun intended) to be enlightening (again, no pun intended). As someone with marketing background that includes lots of traditional direct marketing where data rules ROI, I’m interested in learning about digital engagement message/ad targeting trends (& also hope to hear about privacy issues that may come into play).

    • http://twitter.com/markevans101 Mark Evans

      Ira, just trying to make Data sexy for the masses; never thought about the combination of those words, good insight.

  • http://www.twitter.com/erikjfisher/ Erik Fisher

    I think I would most benefit from “Big Bad Ass Data: holy grail of consumer engagement”. I’m a little over a month in at a newly created Social Media Manager position at a Private University. I have to get my head around the data to interpret it for maximum impact, and keep my job.

  • http://twitter.com/tweetinspired Bernard

    I would love to attend “eCommerce Goes Hyper-Local: Turning M-commerce into a frictionless experience” to see how the leading companies are converting untapped user insights into innovative solutions.

  • http://profiles.google.com/ogincem Michoel Ogince

    Session: The Future of Geo-Social Apps: it’s ubiquitous, now what? Location based services are still in their infancy. Consumers and brands are seeing the beginning of how these services influence the social space. Thus far their influence is massive and I am excited to see the future unfold.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TZ46YZYQW2PDPAH4OMKUISMMWM Gary Roshak

    A number of interesting sessions here, but in particular would like to hear the discussion around “Big Bad Ass Data: holy grail of consumer engagement”. The proverbial pot of gold lies in the Personal Information Economy – with many players (edge, content, network, etc.) owning pieces of this. None have yet figured out how to unlock… and the Feds have their own ideas here which will further complicate.

  • Brendan Reddy

    I’m with Gary. “Big Bad Ass Data: holy grail of consumer engagement” addresses the problem I find most interesting — now that companies are capturing new categories of information about consumer behavior (whether we want them to or not), how can they collate and process that data in a way that results in tangible benefits to me. And not just seem creepy.

  • http://www.networketiquette.net David Chiles

    Social Loco iz kewl. The future of Social Media web applications is up to good planners. The Irvine Company motto is good planning goes a long way. Social Media applications develop intellectual property, domains, The Irvine Company (named after a Mexican Family) develops the best property in the world. The applications with the best netiquette wins.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YMESCQBJUSQH3ZY7TFQBMXOUUI Gabriel Carrejo

    Locals Only. SMB presents a myriad of opportunities and we are getting more and more calls from them regarding social, search, and online advertising – or “DAO” (Digital Asset Optimization) as we call it.

  • Nick Bicanic

    For me it’s enabling the user’s revolution and big bad data…

  • Pingback: Social Media Alert – “Social Media” | SMLRT

  • http://www.jozjozjoz.com jozjozjoz

    “The Future of Geo-Social Apps: it’s ubiquitous, now what?”

    This sounds fascinating because I love it when the question “Now what?” gets asked.

  • http://steroids.homepage.ph/ Buy Steroids in Manila

    i always browse on my phone to check prices and reviews etc whilst shopping

  • http://twitter.com/KatieFelten Katie Felten

    Wow this conference looks amazing I am interested in all the topics but the one I think that stands out the most to me is Back to the Future: reinventing brand loyalty in this world of discounts, couponing, and endless choices how to we get people to come back, create relavent loyalty programs and then the ultimate share their love of us with their friends.

  • cqcq

    Big Brands Go Social-Loco: what’s working and not working (inside the sausage factory)
    –what’s working and not working?

  • http://www.brosix.com/ Brosix

    I don’t think facebook has done much to focus on mobile so far.

  • Carol Stephen

    All of the topics sound fascinating, but “Back to the Future: reinventing brand loyalty” is the one that appeals to me the most. How do people make decisions on what to buy, and what creates someone so loyal to a brand that they’d have their name tattooed on them, for instance? (Think Harley-Davidson) And how do brands translate what they were doing with their advertising to what they will do in the future? Those are a few questions rattling around in my head when I see that topic.

  • http://twitter.com/Criptic Ishara K

    Locals Only: SMBs leveraging social to go local. As former Mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom articulated, “Small businesses in these commercial corridors are the lifeblood of our local economy..”. Being a Marketer for Small Businesses and big supporter of driving entrepreneurship; the social-mobile landscape is one area that I feel is both misunderstood and therefore underutilized, to enhance small business effectiveness. The panel is relevant and interesting and I’d love to hear what they offer and why they think it works for SMB’s.

  • Dawn Thomas

    I would love to attend the whole event and see all of the sessions as you’ve got some of the best in the industry speaking at this event.