The Rise of Social Shopping: What It Means For Your Business

By on November 28, 2011

What is social shopping? And why should you keep an eye on it going into 2012? Many experts say that 2012 will be the year that social shopping finally takes off. This is great news, not only for you as a buyer – but for you as a seller. Soon anyone will be able to integrate the element of social shopping on their e-commerce website.

What Is Social Shopping?

We’ve seen a lot of developments this year in the realm of social e-commerce. With sites like Groupon, BuyWithMe and Left of Trend on the rise, social shopping has burst into the social sphere, influencing all of our lives. It is as you would expect – shopping with your friends, online! By combining e-commerce and social interaction, savvy web developers and startups have pioneered the concept all of this year.

It includes a lot of variations of shopping, but all are done in a social context. With sharing, inviting, sending emails, chatting, discussions, voting and ranking on the rise, social shopping is the new big thing. Imagine being a member of the same social shopping site as a group of friends.

You’ll be able to see what they’ve looked at, said, rated and contributed to the site. Then, you can contribute yourself. This is great for sales, as friends often buy what their friends have bought already. There’s even group buying now, where you can split the cost of your item with friends.

In its purest form, it will keep buyers loyal to a particular set of sites, as that’s where their friends hang out too. Many of these sites are tied into Facebook, for obvious reasons. Their friends can tell other friends about their social shopping experience, and urge them to join in.

What Does Social Shopping Mean For Your Business?

There’s no doubt that businesses that adopt social shopping early will benefit the most from this trendy way to buy. It takes membership sites to a whole new level! What you need to do is figure out how you can capitalize on social shopping for your e-commerce pages. Can you soup up your community involvement? Forums just won’t cut it anymore. You need people on your site, everyday – contributing.

What about shopping around for the latest social plugins? There are many that will let your shoppers become more involved in your business. Don’t forget to anchor it all to your Facebook and Twitter communities. These scrolling updates are becoming more and more important on your website. You might even want to change the way you think about your e-commerce page altogether.

Would it sell more as a social-driven community site? Will group buying work on it? How will you get friends to love your pages, share them and form a community around them? For some great ideas check out woot, kaboodle, stylehive, shopstyle and zebo. They’re all dot coms, and they all do social shopping.

Which social shopping site is your favorite and why? We want to know what you think, in the comment box below!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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