Since the “Dot Com” boom of the nineties, the internet has taken on countless different forms. Its blossomed into roles like educator, shopkeeper, tour guide, therapy group, entertainer, news anchor and social butterfly. And despite our complaints about cat pictures and Justin Bieber GIFs, we know that the web is an invaluable resource, and an inextricable facet of our future. Many different internet trends have come, and many have gone – so how can we possibly predict the path the web will take? The answer is: we can’t. But that doesn’t mean we won’t try.
With Ebay’s recent acquisition of e-commerce mogul GSI, it’s clear that the web’s leading internet shopping site wants to expand into – you guessed it – internet shopping. But what exact form will this take? Will it be larger, e-Wal-Marts like Amazon, Overstock and Ebay? Or will the social marketplace emerge and flourish even more than it already has, creating a currency from shares, likes and tweets. There certainly is perceived value in this market, and the clientele is a strong one – the target 18-25 year olds that seem to dictate the newest, hottest, most influential trends.
The Price of Being Cool
But is influence enough? With Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, they are left with questions as to how to make their money back. How can a free photo sharing site carry attention long enough to demand advertising? Who will pay for a subscription of a service that has countless of free competitors. Now that Yahoo has purchased Tumblr, a similarly low-profit social networking site, for $1.1 billion, the internet is abuzz with the likelihood of their success.
Positive Peer Pressure
Following the success of Groupon and to a lesser extent, LivingSocial, countless internet outlets are seizing the continuously growing market of online deals. In many ways, it’s beneficial to all parties involved, but for the vendor and the business, the deal only becomes lucrative after a certain level of customer investment. That’s where the social marketplace comes in. The more a deal is shared, the more valuable it becomes to the business. In some cases, deal retailers will only release a discount once it has become popular enough, and then suddenly, every customer gets a sweet discount. Win-win-win!
How Tweet it Is
Aside from deal sharing, the social marketplace has grown owing advertisers to reach clientele in a whole new way, with personalized ads that are delivered right to their homepages and personal feeds. The benefit is two-fold when it reaches an otherwise hard-to-reach consumer such as teens and young adults, but it pays off exponentially more when it comes from the voice of a celebrity spokesperson – especially one with millions of Twitter followers. The value of a personality’s followers on Twitter is not a definite one – it changes from fan to fan, celebrity to celebrity and product to product, but the fact remains the same: Twitter is a free way to reach millions of people that have chosen to listen to you and won’t otherwise be even reachable.
The future of the digital marketplace might still be up in the air, but one thing’s for certain – it’s entirely uncertain. The internet is a fickle place and its businesses know all too well that what is hot today may be old news next week. The only way to stay successful is to constantly stay ahead of the curve, regardless of how it may be.
Ashely is a writer that has an particualr interest in SEO and business. To see more, check out her Twitter @ashelymarie1985.