It’s been close to a year since I started at PowerReviews, but before last Wednesday night the only thing I knew of Cathy Halligan’s ability to hold an audience, other then during internal meetings, was what I’ve heard from my colleagues. At the Palomar Hotel in Chicago, our SVP of Sales & Marketing, accurately and compellingly offered PowerReviews perspective on Social and how it’s guiding the PowerReviews product road map.
The event was appropriately named the PowerReviews Social Commerce Think Tank (#ChicagoSocial in Twitter language), and believe me, “Social” was palpable. Cathy’s audience included representatives from online merchants including Crate & Barrel, FansEdge, and hhgreg. Before each guest entered the conference room they were fitted with a name-tag that included their respective Twitter Hashtag. The fact that there was not one person that night representing a company without a Hashtag, you knew we were in good company.
During the next two hours the former CMO of Walmart.com engaged a wide range of industry professionals, from e-commerce managers to SEO experts to CEO’s. What made it truly social was her willingness to open up the discussion to the group, asking questions throughout the way and encouraging people to share their own perspectives and experiences. Conversations circled around the recently launched Facebook innovations (Timeline, Ticker, etc.) and their implications around Social Commerce, and evidence supporting Facebook as a reliable source of revenue. We explored specific companies approaching social in innovative ways and Cathy unveiled some of our new Facebook products – Facebook Discovery and Facebook Community. Both still in beta, but already being used by companies such as Step2, Nutrex Research, Advance Auto Parts and set to go live by Staples, the #2 online retailer according to Internet Retailer’s Top 500. Features include the ability for shoppers to Ask Friends for Advice, Follow a Reviewer, Follow a Product, and Follow a Category directly from the product page to the Facebook News Feed and user Timelines.
Following the Q&A portion of the presentation, guests were invited to a reception to mingle with some of their fellow attendees and meet some more of the PowerReviews crew. Here’s a nice shot of the new PowerReviews logo, shining brightly during the reception.
All in all, the event was informative, it was well delivered, and it was collective… it was The Social Commerce Think Tank presented by PowerReviews.