OK, or to put it another way, why is a beer festival like an e-commerce site? Because working behind the counter as a volunteer at Leicester Beer Festival at The Charotar Patidar Samaj on Saturday was a great reminder of some of the essentials of a community-based e-commerce site where the needs of the customer come first. Firstly, despite the obvious differences between this one-off offline marketplace of a beer festival and a social commerce site – the similarities start from the simple fact that there is a range of products for the customer to choose from in both cases who doesn’t always know which one best suits their needs or tastes.
But moving on from the general to the specific – what for me was great about serving beer to customers was the degree to which so many festival attendees asked our (see the row of volunteers, above) opinion of which beer to try. Yes this was social commerce distilled into one small space on one day, like an huge offline e-commerce experiment! Indeed the power of recommendation which we strive for in social commerce was clear to see at the beer festival where people asked for a pale ale or tasty stout, and reinforced by the exchange of recommendations between the festival volunteers. Reinforced by the fact that plenty of people knew what they wanted, just wanted us to get one with it, and weren’t impressed if you carelessly filled less than a full half or pint glass.
Thus it was from a volunteer’s recommendation by which I came away with the Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby beer as a prime choice; which I cross-checked with my colleague Ian, and which I in turn recommended to customers keen to try something new.
So next time you’re thinking of an off-the-wall idea for an ‘away-day’ for your e-commerce team you could do a lot worse than get them to stand behind the bar at a beer festival and think on their feet.