Commerce gone social
Odds are that most of the people who read this will have participated in an online financial transaction that was facilitated by or otherwise involved a social media platform. Despite this, the social sphere has not yet incorporated commerce to quite the degree that many people thought that, by now, it would have. This year, SXSW Interactive hosted a panel moderated by Hans Morris and featuring Kahina Van Dyke and Dale Nirvani Pfeifer to find out why that’s the case and where social payment might be headed.
The panel began with Van Dyke expressing her wariness to join Facebook. She was contacted to come on board to help bring more commerce to the platform. Her worry? That Facebook was yet another platform wanting to become a bank.
What she says she’s found, however, is something quite different: a focus on spreading prosperity. In her discussion she focused quite a bit on bringing online commerce capabilities to international business owners who may not have an easy, highly-functional way to conduct business online. Accepting payments across international borders that aren’t prohibitively expensive is an important piece of that. Though the work to make that entirely feasible remains in progress, Van Dyke remains optimistic.
“A fundamental layer of commerce is payments. Can you make payments simple?,” she said. “That’s what we’re doing.”
Pfeifer, of GoodWorld, focused her contributions to the panel on the use of social media platforms within philanthropic financial transactions. Interestingly, she highlighted that this need has been driven by users assuming this functionality was already fully in place. They would hear about a cause they wanted to support on social media and then try to find a way to make a donation only to discover that they couldn’t.
As a part of GoodWorld, she is trying to help philanthropic organizations move into a more contemporary scene. She’s found that many of them struggle to communicate in the social sphere.
“There’s a very specific type of social media presence that you need to built,” she said. “You can’t just repackage an email campaign.”