Social commerce could be on the verge of expansion with a new service called Graphite, which allows brands to better leverage their social media. For a fee, retailers can install a whole range of buttons on their web sites, spin-offs of the traditional Facebook “like” and Twitter “tweet this” choices. When visitors click one of the bespoke buttons attached to a particular product, their choice and the item will show up on their Facebook timeline.
For instance, someone shopping Nine West’s site — Nine West is one of Graphite’s early adopters — will be able to choose from “want,” “own,” or “love” product buttons. An item for which they choose a button will go on their Facebook page — literally. Rather than the typical link that would appear from clicking “like,” Graphite will create a shoppable story, including the item and related products, right in Facebook’s newsfeed.
The company 8thBridge, which created Graphite, sees this expanded social commerce as a way for brands to more deeply engage with their online audiences. It’s also a chance for them to experiment — if a “love” button gets little traction, they can install a different message. It’s also more than just a platform for retail; Elle magazine is already on board, working with their advertisers to create an online spring trend piece with relevant, shoppable products. The results are peppered with Graphite’s bespoke buttons.
Oscar de la Renta, Toms, and Avon are among other early adopters. Facebook commerce hasn’t yet taken off, but with a host of new options from Graphite, this could be the turnaround point.