Shoppers of the world unite. For many people, shopping is a solitary activity; one where the individual hunter-gatherer sets off on a mission to find that perfect something…and then brings home that perfect something (plus a few other things that caught his/her eye).
But now there’s less reason to be a lonely shopper. You can make shopping a group effort, complete with communal decision making but without the need for an actual parade of people moving store to store behind you. Social shopping allows consumers to harness the wisdom of the crowds (or at least their friends) and gives retailers a new tool to foster loyalty, acquire new customers, and enhance the shopping experience.
When you sign up for Amazon’s Facebook Connect you get a very deep connection. Based on the published likes and dislikes of your Facebook friends, their collective favourite books, movies and music are revealed. You also get access to their wish lists in case you need to buy a personal birthday gift, a great way to get that “How did you know!!” reaction. At first this almost sounds overly intrusive, however, Amazon only shares what people have agreed to post on their public profiles.
Sephora gets a nod for incorporating social and mobile attributes within the in-store experience. Type in a SKU, product name, or brand name into their mobile app and see reviews from others. You can also Facebook Like a product from within the mobile app so you can get feedback from your friends.
Part Twitter, part TwitPic, and part Google Maps, JustBought.it encourages users to tweet whenever they’ve “just bought something” with a picture of the product and the location where they purchased it. What emerges is a local shopping community. An iPhone app is available with BlackBerry (client) and Android versions to come. The Android version will come with an augmented reality function that lets users walk into a store and see what others on the site have already purchased.
Have a T-shirt design idea? Post it to Threadless.com. In seven days the community scores your design. If it scores high enough, Threadless will feature it and sell your T-shirt and the designer gets paid.
Augmented reality comes to online shopping with Zugara’s Fashionista app (now in alpha mode) that lets you try on virtual clothes from the comfort of your home. This takes the convenience of online shopping to a whole new level.
Image credit: Mashable