Google+, Groupon, Spotify, LivingSocial Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media networks may be capturing headlines, but there’s a quiet revolution going on that could change the way the next generation buys consumer items and transacts business. It’s the movement toward Social Currency, a development that is taking shape through corporate leaders such as American Express or small start-ups like Pegmo.com, based in the Chicago area.
Here’s the premise behind social currency: The best way for a business to strengthen customer loyalty and spread valuable word of mouth is to reward customers for engaging with them. American Express is trying this experiment in Isreal, where its Rewards customers earn points by engaging with AmEx on its Facebook Fan Page.
Chicago-based Pegmo is focussed (for now) on the shop local movement, rewarding creative “Pegs” when you Tweet, post a comment or photo, like, or check-in to the social media property of your favorite restaurant, store, or other local establishment. Collect enough pegs and you’re eligible for $5 to $20 gift certificates from your favorite merchants.
Chicago entrepreneur innovations expert Noel Burkman says social currency is the future, and he believes it will be the next big disruption to the way we interact with businesses. Burkman points to the start-up GiftRocket. Who needs to shop for gift cards when you have GiftRocket?
Burkman says you just visit the site and create a gift card for any establishment, which your friends and love ones can redeem through their mobile devices. Provide the name of a business for which you want to give a gift card. I love a Barrington, Ill. gourmet bakery called Ambrosia Euro American Patisserie. My husband can go to Giftrocket and purchase credits for me an Ambrosia Lemon Charlotte cake for my birthday.
Ambrosia’s not required to be part of any GiftRocket membership plan. They don’t have to be a part of anything. GiftRocket finds Ambrosia on Google maps, specifies the gift amount I’ll receive and sends me an email that I’ve got Ambrosia money in my pocket (well actually in my email). The next time I’m within 20 yards of Ambrosia, GiftRocket will deposit $20 in my Paypal account and I’ve got a decadent cake with my name on it waiting for me in the showcase at Ambrosia’s welcoming cafe. How easy is that?
Who needs cash when you’ve got Social Currency? Will you? How far will you go to engage AND transact socially? Would love to hear your thoughts.
And if you’d like to read more about it, check out these links.