Remarking to a roomful of retailers that the state of ecommerce has changed in the last five years is like announcing that Jimi Hendrix was a “pretty decent guitar player” at a Woodstock reunion: it’s an understatement that just might get you escorted out of the building. As more and more consumers fall into lockstep with the Internet, retailers are racing to keep up with the rapidly evolving needs and demands of increasingly empowered shoppers. Buyers today have more options, more knowledge, and more control over their purchasing decisions than ever before. Retailers with their eye on the ball are taking a good look around them and realizing that what worked in traditional commerce ten years ago just doesn’t work in today’s virtual marketplace. Fortunately, companies like ours are helping level the playing field by sparking innovation within the industry. Just like their customers, retailers now have a greater array of tools, technologies and data at their service than ever before.
With such a wealth of information on the web available to us about the new rules of the game, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. This is our humble attempt to narrow down the literally dozens of great resources that we turn to on a regular basis to a short list of 10. We believe these online resources are the best of the best when it comes to arming us with the latest news, practical advice and insight that is so critical to our success, as well as the success of our customers.
Without further ado, here’s Sociable Lab’s list of favorite resources, in two buckets: (1) resources for ecommerce and marketing practitioners, and (2) resources for social commerce specialists and developers. (both listed in alphabetical order)
For Ecommerce and Marketing Practitioners
1. AdAge CMO Strategy and Digital columns
The leading global source of news, intelligence and conversation for marketing and media communities, Advertising Age also has a fantastic CMO Strategy section which offers viewpoints from industry leading CMO’s and pundits. The Digital section of the site is also an excellent one-stop-shop for the latest digital marketing news.
2. AllthingsD – eCommerce
With Tricia Duryee offering razor sharp insights on the state of commerce (and all things social, digital, and media for that matter) AllthingsD is a great place to monitor collective industry disruptions.
3. Fast Company
As a startup, it’s always inspiring to us to learn about what the most innovative business leaders are doing to shake things up in their respective industries. Fast Company is chock full of astute articles about leadership, marketing, and one of their writers, Lydia Dishman, is particularly fascinating for us to follow as she covers innovation, entrepreneurship and retail.
4. Forbes Social Markets
Tomio Geron pens this perceptive column for Forbes.com that focuses on all things social, and helps us stay in the know on the latest and greatest companies and innovations impacting social media.
5. Social Commerce Today
Social Commerce Today takes a deep dive into the applications and strategies being implemented on social commerce by the early adopters. Edited by digital ethnographer Paul Marsden, this site covers the range of tools designed to help people connect where they buy and buy where they connect. From simple share with/forward to a friend buttons to real time social shopping social solutions, Social Commerce Today covers all that is related to “the creation of places where people can collaborate online, get advice from trusted individuals, find goods and services and then purchase them” (Steve Rubel’s plain English definition of social commerce).
For Social Commerce Specialists and Developers
6. All Facebook
David Cohen and other writers at All Facebook are a great resource on Facebook-related news. They focus more on writing for the developer audience.
7. Bokardo, by Joshua Porter
Joshua Porter is an interface designer, author of the best-selling Designing for the Social Web, and the man behind Bokardo, one of our favorite blogs. Porter may be an interface designer by trade, but he’s a writer at heart and his blog is an artful mix of interface and industry viewpoints that appeals to our technical and non-technical teams alike.
8. Facebook + Commerce
It’s only fitting that one of the best how-to-guides for Facebook commerce partners is hosted by Facebook itself. Visitors to the official Facebook page can learn about the best practices and tools available to help increase registration, conversions and cart size. The page’s mission? To help commerce partners use Facebook to create social and personalized experiences.
9. Inside Facebook
A site devoted to, you guessed it, Facebook, Inside Facebook provides daily news and analysis for developers, marketers and investors on Facebook-related business. A must read for all of us here at Sociable Labs. The founder Justin Smith wrote the Facebook Marketing Bible, the most widely referenced book on Facebook marketing today. His team of writers including Josh Constine is incredibly well versed in Facebook marketing strategies, and we consider them to be a great resource.
10. Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab
Forbes selected Dr.BJ Fogg, the man behind the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab as one of “Ten New Gurus You Should Know” and we couldn’t agree more. As a pioneer in the field of captology, the study of computers as persuasive technologies, Dr. Fogg and his team provide incredible insights from the intersections of applied science and behavior. The SPTL also regularly focuses on the psychology of Facebook, making the site a must read for our Sociable Lab innovators. Follow BJ on Twitter @bjfogg.
And there you have it: 10 of the most informative ecommerce and social commerce news sites and blogs that we read on a regular basis. What did we miss? Any recommendations of sites to add?