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According to Sucharita Mulpuru, online and multichannel retail analyst at Forrester Research, Graphite has the most promise of anything that she’s seen in the Facebook arena. She calls it the one facet of the Facebook and social commerce equation that makes sense — as it takes “sharing” to an amplified level and consequently drives traffic back to branded Web sites.
“There is just more seamless sharing where you don’t have to log on every time you share, [as] your fundamental association with [the branded] site is through Facebook. Facebook can be your universal login; that’s what this is,” Mulpuru said.
Previously, Mulpuru believed that one of the only things that worked for Facebook with respect to social commerce was the “like” button — but the challenge there was that users were sharing on the checkout page and not necessarily on the product detail page. For her, the goals she hopes Graphite will achieve are getting people to log in with Facebook sooner, followed by using customized action buttons to encourage more friends to share.
Companies can get more value out of Facebook in this way, Mulpuru said, but she warns that it’s important that companies don’t expect to double their revenue overnight.
Nasty Gal, an e-tailer born entirely out of social media, will roll out its Graphite platform in the next week, and Nine West will do the same in June.
Also in June, Oscar de la Renta will launch the Graphite platform in tandem with the unveiling of an extensive Web site overhaul at oscardelarenta.com that’s being redesigned by Createthe Group. It’s definitely not the first time the luxury brand will work with 8thBridge — it worked on an F-commerce exclusive with the e-commerce solution late last year — but it is the most evolved s-commerce strategy the brand will be adopting to date.
“EighthBridge came to us last year and explained what was happening with the Open Graph. It seemed to us like this was an evolution from a club to a spear, a blunt instrument to a sharp instrument,” Oscar de la Renta ceo Alex Bolen told WWD.
He contended that, although the “like” button covers a host of responses, the brand’s custom gesture buttons — which will be “need,” “want” and “wore” — will be more nuanced and able to elicit deeper engagement and communication with fans.
It’s not just brands using this new technology. Elle is the first publication to incorporate Graphite into its Open Graph, according to the magazine’s senior vice president, publisher and chief revenue officer Kevin O’Malley. It is a result of a partnership with the editorial team and a slew of advertising partners.
Because it’s a consumer magazine and not a brand or retailer, Elle had to devise a way to incorporate Graphite into its digital strategy in a way that was relevant. O’Malley said the publication’s editors came up with six trends for spring, and Elle enlisted partner advertisers such as Havaianas, Equipment, Joie, Bebe, Longchamp, Michael Kors, Gucci, Nine West and Tommy Hilfiger to curate appropriate product based on the trend most reflective of their brand. Users have the option to select “love,” “want,” “own” or “buy” for each item.
“This is why we call this social commerce and not F-commerce, which implies something purely transactional. We are deliberately not implying that this is purely about the transaction. Quite frankly, we have no idea if Facebook is a transactional platform. We don’t know yet, it’s an experiment. We will let the consumer teach us that. What we do know is that its core proposition promotes peer recommendations and advocacy,” O’Malley said.
The platform will be unveiled at noon today during a live video-streaming event at 8thbridge.com/graphitelaunch.