Live from Internet Retailer: Four Ways to Harness Web 2.0

Looking to upgrade your e-commerce site to Web 2.0? Even if you think you are behind the curve, Dave Friedman, president of the central region for Avenue A | Razorfish, says you may still need to understand what the buzz is all about.

Speaking Tuesday at Internet Retailer’s Conference and Expo, Friedman reminded the audience that Web 2.0 is more than just a new technology. Rather, Web 2.0 is the “combination of technology and design that aims to enhance creativity, information sharing, and most notably, collaboration among users,” Friedman said, showing a slide of the Web 2.0 entry on Wikipedia.

“Because it’s technology-enabled, Web 2.0 gives users a much broader community in which they interact,” Friedman said. “People with similar interests, literally around the world, can share product experiences, brand experiences, and experiences with different retailers.”

And the stats show why Web 2.0 is important. Nielsen recently released a study that showed 78% of consumers were most influenced by word of mouth when making a buying decision. A Luxury Institute survey showed that 84% of consumers who make more than $150,000 a year use ratings and review sites to find out about products prior to purchase.

But just because you bring Web 2.0 into your e-commerce mix doesn’t mean you can sit back and bask in the success. Friedman listed four things every retailer needs to effectively harness Web 2.0:

  1. Support multi-dimensional product campaigns. Product comparisons are becoming an expectation of the customer. The price to play is to have the access to product reviews and ratings, and have those available to your customers.
  2. Build places that make it easier for customers to play. Want to know what your room will look like after its been painted? Home decor brand Behr incorporated a paint swatch application in its site so you can get a virtual view of your freshly painted interior.
  3. Engage in conversation. Don’t just talk the talk on your own site: get involved on other social pages. Friedman cited Polo Ralph Lauren for using Racked, a New York-based shopping and retail blog, to spread the word about new store openings and the launch of, the Website for its soon-to-be-unveiled brand.
  4. Give users and influencers the ability to leverage your content. Home Depot Canada’s Website allows users to place a product, such as a Ryobi jigsaw, on their own Facebook page for their friends to see. And in the case of that saw, page viewers can also put it on content aggregator sites such as Digg or Technorati.