For millions of consumers, the smartphone has become their de facto camera. Taking a picture is one of the most common activities among smartphone users. ShopSocially is seeking to turn this mobile habit into social gold for retailers with its new Photomonial offering.
A Photomonial is a customer testimonial but in photographic form. ShopSocially creates a special URL for a retailer, a web page where customers can upload photos of them using or wearing a merchant’s products and automatically post the photos to their social media accounts. Retailers can distribute the URL with print or electronic receipts or on flyers in stores or in packages. URLs can be displayed in the form of a QR code that a customer can scan with a bar code scanning app.
ShopSocially encourages retailers to incent customers to take and upload pictures by, for example, offering a set number of rewards points per picture and a chance to win a $100 gift certificate. ShopSocially, using special coding and hashtags, aggregates photos customers have posted on social networks onto a special page on a retailer’s web site, linking photos to product pages.
Retailers are not doing enough to motivate customers to share, says Jai Rawat, CEO of ShopSocially.
“Like eBay democratized selling online, social media has democratized marketing,” Rawat says. “Every consumer has become a digital marketer, and holds a lot of influence.”
Rawat says ShopSocially puts the emphasis on the customer and not the retailer because consumers do not log on to Facebook to see what a retailer is up to—they log on to see what their friends are up to.
“To the extent we can get consumers to talk about products they love by snapping photos and sharing with friends, that is consumer-to-consumer marketing as opposed to B2C marketing, and consumer word of mouth is the most effective way to sell products,” Rawat says.
ShopSocially’s first Photomonial clients include Café Press, Footwear Etc., Beretta and Totally Promotional. The vendor charges 5 cents per photo, but charges no set-up or monthly fees. It offers a variety of social marketing and social commerce applications for retailers.