2014: the year shopping becomes a game

2014: the year shopping becomes a game

This is our third prediction for 2014. For our other predictions, click here.

The internet has always been about competition. I'm the Foursquare Mayor of this kebab shop. Her cute kittens blog just jumped up 1,000 places in the Alexa rankings. You have 934 unread emails in your inbox since the Christmas break (yeah, we know - painfully true). And these things have massively benefitted the bewildering growth of the 'net.

But the one aspect of the internet which hasn't - until now - profited by man's inherent need to compete is shopping. Don't get me wrong - we all like to brag about how we bought our house for £Xk less than the asking price, or how we jumped in and 'won' an auction seconds before it closed. But there's only ever one winner in those scenarios. Competition (until now) has never helped promote growth; it's never benefitted the masses.

That's going to change in 2014.

Up until now, when you said "Social-Commerce" people would think "f-commerce" and remember those terrible store-fronts bolted onto brands' Facebook Pages. Now, there's nothing wrong with aspiring to sell to a billion people on Facebook but, if you're going to distract people


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Analysis: Paddy Power are favourites to revolutionise social

Paddy Power In-Play

"Every man", said Paddy Power CEO Patrick Kennedy on a recent call with city analysts, "over the age of 18 on Facebook in the UK is connected to at least one Paddy Power fan."

Them's fighting words and, being a) a man, b) in the UK and c) waaaay older than 18 (weep), I thought I'd give it a go. Guess what? I'm connected to three Paddy Power fans. Turns out that hot air wasn't nearly hot enough.

The important thing, though, is that Paddy Power aren't simply sitting back on their laurels and enjoying their place at social's top table. It's not enough for them to have over a million people listening to them on Facebook, they've got people talking about them, too. In fact, if you compare them with other brands who have similar a number of Fans, they generate six times as much conversation as Costa Coffee, 48 times as much as Pringles and 83 times as much as Blackberry. And Blackberry are in the conversation business.

All this is because, 18 months ago, Paddy Power totally reassessed their growth strategy. As underdogs, they were in no position to compete on level terms with the likes of


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Analysis: How Amazon’s App Store Can Use Co-Buying To Overtake Google & Apple

Analysis: Amazon’s App Store Is On The Cusp Of Overtaking Google & Apple

If phones were cars, the screen would be the dashboard, the CPU would be the engine, the battery would be the gas tank. And the apps? The apps would be the wheels. Without apps, you’re going nowhere. With them, the world’s your oyster.

That’s why the global app market is already worth $27 billion – a massive figure that’s set to grow by 30% within the year. That’s why the world’s most popular app, Facebook Messenger, has over 700 million users. And that’s why each and every one of us has about 22 apps on our phones (in fact, if you’re an Apple muncher, that’s likely to be more like 37).

You’ll know Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, but our own favourite is Amazon’s Appstore for Android – a modest player comparatively, but one with massive potential and some genuinely innovative advantages over its behemoth rivals. From its Test Drive feature (where, thanks to Amazon’s cloud computing grunt, you can try an app out on your PC before you buy it on your phone) to that 1-click checkout with 14 years’ worth of ready-to-roll customers. Plus,


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Five ways gamification can ignite your retail sales

Five ways gamification can transform retail

I have no idea how fruit machines work. Sure, I get the 'line up three bunches of cherries to win' classic, but the all-singing-all-blinking monstrosity that mocked me in the pub yesterday? Absolutely clueless. And yet, somehow, its combination of twinkly lights, bashy buttons and blippy noises had me chucking coins into it like owning money was going out of fashion.

That's because, as a species, we're far more likely to engage with something if there's an element of gaming involved. I'm sure there's an evolutionary imperative behind all this: if you took a chance on the lady monkey with the weirdy, opposable thumbs, there was a better chance your offspring would survive the great banana famine of 7,000,000 years BC. That kind of thing. Don't ask me, ask Richard Dawkins.

Anyway, we love gaming (and its sidekick, competition), and the introduction of these elements - conceptually known as 'gamification' - into any environment works wonders. The LinkedIn profile completeness bar is a famous example, and rightly so: users fill in more and more info to achieve a 100% complete 'score' and, in so doing, provide mountains more data back to LI, its users and, of course, its


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2013: the year shopping becomes a game

2013: The Year Shopping Becomes A Game

The internet has always been about competition. I'm the Foursquare Mayor of this kebab shop. Her cute kittens blog just jumped up 1,000 places in the Alexa rankings. 934 unread emails have arrived in your inbox over the weekend (yeah, we know - painfully true). And these things have massively benefitted the bewildering growth of the 'net.

But the one aspect of the internet which hasn't - until now - profited by man's inherent need to compete is shopping. Don't get me wrong - we all like to brag about how we bought our house for £Xk less than the asking price, or how we jumped in and 'won' an auction seconds before it closed. But there's only ever one winner in those scenarios. Competition (until now) has never helped promote growth; it's never benefitted the masses.

That's going to change in 2013.

Up until now, when you said "social commerce" people would think "f-commerce" and remember those terrible store-fronts bolted onto brands' Facebook Pages. Now, there's nothing wrong with aspiring to sell to a billion people on Facebook but, if you're going to distract people from chewing the fat (gnashing the gristle?) with their friends, you need to


▸ Continue reading