How Social Media will disrupt the traditional “Retailing” Model

03-Nov-2010

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A banker turned social finance entrepreneur. Liu-Yue built and managed two social enterprises. Liu-Yue founded Oxstones Investment Club a searchable cloud-based content platform for knowledge sharing and financial education. Oxstones.com also provides global investors with direct access to U.S. commercial real estate investment opportunities and other alternative strategies. In addition, Liu-Yue also co-founded Cute Brands, Inc. Cute Brands is a cause-oriented character-based brand licensing and social impact fund that creates social awareness on global issues and societal challenges through character creations. Prior to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Liu-Yue worked as an Executive Associate at M&T Bank in the Structured Real Estate Finance Group where he worked with senior management on multiple bank-wide risk management projects. He also had a dual role as a commercial banker advising ultra high net worth clients on investments, credit, and banking needs while focused on residential CRE, infrastructure development, and affordable housing projects. Prior to M&T, he held a number of positions in emerging markets bonds and Latin American equities investment groups at SBC Warburg Dillon Read (Swiss Bank), OFFITBANK (the wealth management division of Wachovia Bank), and in small cap equities and special situation investing at Steinberg Priest Capital Management (family office). Liu-Yue has an MBA specializing in investment management and strategy from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Marketing from Stern School of Business at NYU. He also completed graduate studies in international management at the University of Oxford, Trinity College.







By Harish Kotadia, MyVenturePad.com

Groupon, the “localized” deal of the day website has witnessed phenomenal growth in the last one year. Groupon’s success underlines the power of Social Media which makes it so easy to connect with other like minded people over the internet. (for more on Groupon’s success, watch this excellent CNNMoney Video)

Even retailing giant Walmart seems to be taking note of Groupon’s success and has launched a Facebook deals app called CrowdSaver, which unlocks a discount once enough consumers opt in (for more, read this AdAge article titled Walmart Takes a Page From Groupon in Facebook Promotion). I think this is a step in the right direction for Walmart and other retailers should (and will) follow suit.

Traditional retailing involves buying in bulk from the manufacturer (or distributor) and selling one piece at a time for a mark-up. This model has served both the manufacturer and retailer well – so far. This is about to change, thanks to Social Media.

Customers are increasingly going to leverage power of Social Networks to connect with other like minded customers who want to buy a particular product or service. Collectively, this group of customers is a force to reckon with and manufacturers (or distributors) can directly sell to them breaking the hegemony of major retail chain stores. To counter this, retailers can leverage the power of Social Networks and offer deeply discounted prices to customers if a certain volume of sales is achieved – what Walmart seems to have done.

Whichever way you look at it, Social Media will disrupt the “traditional” retailing model for good. And customers are going to be winner as they can exercise group buying power and buy products/services at lower prices or at better terms. If retailers don’t innovate and leverage Social Networks, their margins will be under increasing pressure and they will lose customers to those who leverage the effectiveness of Social Networks and offer great deals.

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