Internet – Social Shopping

Shoppers should try social shopping. This combines the two most favorite activities of people on the internet: Social networking and shopping. Cashing in on the social networking wave, websites dedicated to social shopping bring together like minded shoppers to give them a platform to exchange notes on shopping.

To be sure, the concept of social shopping is not really new. Online retailers have been using some form of social shopping for a while now. You only need to look at sites like Amazon, Indiatimes and eBay to understand how community building helps sales. All three sites let the user make efficient, rational purchases and also allow emotional social purchases. Remember how that innocent suggestion of ‘people who bought the product you are considering also liked these other products’ made you stack up three more products on Amazon?

However, the main focus of shopping websites has been on making the shopping process as easy as possible. But shopping has never been a rational process and that’s why online retailers are now turning their focus on the not-so-rational or the ‘social’ side of shopping.

This is exactly what specialized social sites such as Crowdstorm, Kaboodle and StyleHive let you do. The sites let you ‘tag’ products you like, capture images prices, and even videos, write blogs and display all that in one place. This information is then humanized by organizing it into themed shopping lists between friends. The themes could be gadgets, home, gadgets home furnishings or accessories. This puts a human face to the so far impersonal online shopping experience.

Shopping is an activity that’s driven by groups rather than individuals. Look at the malls where you see families going shopping even to by weekly groceries. A lone shopper is never where the margin is. Drive groups into your mall and you are in business. Ever noticed how more often than not, you end up buying things you never intended to in the first place, when you go shopping with friends?

This is the best form of viral marketing. What is better than shoppers coming together and recommending a retailer’s products to other visitors, pictures of items that they have used and liked?

eBay recently started eBay blogs around the same concept, where like-minded people gather, and exchange notes about products they buy. Take the Kanjeevaram saree blog for instance, which is a huge success with saree lovers on eBay.

Then there are other sites such as that put a slightly different twist to social shopping. Unlike sites like Kaboodle, these aren’t social book marking or comparison shopping sites. It’s more like a criaglist which lets you use the collective wisdom of crowds to help you make a decision before buying a product.

This is just the beginning say analysts; the future of Social Shopping is much more exciting. Imagine an environment where say, Playstation fans meet up and organize themselves to buy the latest version. What could happen then is that this group collectively bargains for prices and get the best bargain directly from the company.