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Crowds, Icons & Tribes
Working on creating a new kind of store, a +Curagami powered store called HackHeadphones on +Shopify. Here are differences we are finding from #ecommerce even last year:

* Social & Mobile blow up regular categorization.
* The new expectation, created by #socialmediamarketing and ubiquitous #mobile is online shopping should be #fun and make it easy to fly through inventory (like swiping on an iPad).
* Expectations that I (insert archetype or persona here) can find what I want FAST and easy.
* No one PASSIVELY consumes anything anymore, so new #ecommerce needs to provide ways to manipulate, #spin and #share their #contentmarketing .
* No one believes a website nearly as much as #friends or #friendsoffriends so #ugc (User Generated Content) has never been more important.
* Problem is the "mavens", "connectors" and "sales-people" willing to act as #brandambassadors have never been harder to find and engage.

As we work these #newecommerce challenges we using #crowds , #icons and  #tribes over and over.

if we aren't smarter than a bunch of 5th graders there is something in this "crowd IQ is always higher" idea. Problem for most online merchants is to discover #crowdwisdom in time. #orm (Online Reputation Management) is fine but way too LATE these "near real time" days.

We want to play PING PONG with our customers or as our Co-Founder +Phil Buckley said so well when we started our #startups journey at +Triangle StartUp Factory - "What if you could know your customers as well as your friends". Apt and prescient statement given our social / mobile times.  Curagami is all about CROWDS BEFORE you find the conversation happened 3 days ago out in the north forty where no one heard it but the horses.

The more we engage crowds the more we realize the different language any #onlinecommunity must create to scale. You MUST shorten and make exclusive (to some degree) your knowledge share. Sounds crazy right? I just said make it HARDER to join your club.

Remember that Groucho Marx line about any club that would have me for a member he didn't want to join. If your "exclusive club" doesn't have some gates your fans have to jump over to become ambassadors and brand advocates then they aren't real. Trick is finding just the right amount of work to benefit ratio. We hope this "work to benefit" ratio is a knob you can easily tune on Curagami soon.

The secret gold in all of the "everything #seo is gone OMG" is C O M M U N I T Y. Effectively knitting seemingly disparate "tribes" of people together to accomplish something (even if it is only being together in an acknowledged way) is the new black.

If your website engages people enough to do the small amount of work that signals their true intent AND your systems provide ongoing rewards and social praise via #gamification tribes form. Tribes are GOOD.

Tribes mean you aren't alone. Tribes mean you have crowd wisdom to tap, icons to teach and conversations to listen in on. Tribes are the reason we do things online instead of in a closet or a basement (lol). You can be "King of the Basement", but it doesn't scale :). M
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