State of Social Commerce: An Interview with InSparq CEO Veronika Sonsev


This post comes from a recent interview with Veronika Sonsev, CEO of inSparq, a social commerce platform provider. Ms. Sonsev is a digital technology veteran who worked as an executive for AOL and mobile advertising company Jumptap. She is also a co-founder of Women in Wireless and the WIM Accelerator. Her company, inSparq, partners with retailers and brands to create innovative social commerce solutions.

SCT: In your opinion, what is the current state of social commerce?

VS: Overall, the industry is still new and the social aspect is really young for most retailers. New entrants like Fab.com, Modcloth and, to some extent, Gilt have been very successful in implementing social as a strategy to acquire new customers and better engage current shoppers. However, most Internet Retailer 500 companies have done little more than put sharing buttons on their site. This creates a really exciting growth opportunity for our industry.

SCT: Am I correct in understanding that your company focuses on helping retailers make their sites more social?

VS: Yes, that’s correct. inSparq partners with retailers and brands on innovative social products. Inspired by retailers like Fab and Modcloth, we built a social commerce platform that includes Social Sharing, Refer-a-Friend and Live Pinboard. We also offer customized social solutions to grow sales.

SCT: What role does discovery play in the current social commerce landscape?

VS: Let me start by explaining the difference between directed shopping and discovery. Directed shopping is when you know you want a specific pair of jeans by a certain designer and you’re trying to find the best price – ecommerce serves these types of shoppers very well. By contrast, Discovery shopping is when you’re looking for an outfit to wear on Friday and you’re not sure what to buy.

So the challenge for retailers is to recreate an experience that’s similar to consumers going to a mall and talking with retail clerks and friends about what they should wear on Friday.  We believe discovery is the biggest opportunity for growth for commerce overall but, up till now, it hasn’t really existed for online commerce.

SCT: How does inSparq help enable product discovery?

VS: inSparq developed a product called the Live Pinboard specifically with discovery in mind. It lives on the retailer’s site and provides a Pinterest-like visual display of products that are trending real-time. It helps customers make purchase decisions by surfacing the most popular products on the site and allowing customers to share and comment on products they love. Customers can also filter by category, price or other criteria. This creates social validation that helps customers discover items they love but didn’t know they want.

You can see an example of this product on C. Wonder. inSparq is in the process of launching three more retailers in the coming month.

Republished by permission.

About the author: Social Commerce Today

Social Commerce Today is the leading online resource for news, comment and analysis in the field of social commerce; the business of helping people connect where they buy and buy where they connect.

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