Today’s post will discuss a growing phenomenon: social shopping.
This relatively new form of e-commerce is an interesting development, perhaps especially for the smaller e-commerce entrepreneur. Social Shopping, like social networks, comes in various shapes and tastes, as well as regional varieties. We will discuss some of the biggest global players below.
But first: what is Social Shopping?
The Friendize.me video summarizes social shopping quite well: a platform that you can trust for advice on products or even professional services.
Apart from discussing some of the main social shopping platforms, we will explain how you could use social shopping to your advantage. But we will start with asking the question: why does social shopping matter?
Reasons Why Social Shopping May Become Huge: The Growth of the Internet and Web 2.0
The internet is growing at a staggering rate. Over 350.000 domains are registered today. In December 2007, twenty percent of the world’s population, or 1.3 billion people were internet users. Just seven years later, more than 40 % of the world’s population (or about 3 billion people) are internet users. (source: internetworldstats.com). In other words, in 7 (seven) years the amount of people active on the internet more than doubled!
Perhaps even more telling are the numbers on social networks and e-commerce, or the growth of Web 2.0. Worldwide e-commerce is projected to grow at an annual rate of 15-20% from 2014 through 2017 (emarketer.com). Facebook today has over 1.3 billion monthly active users.
Social Shopping may very well take off along with the growth of e-commerce and social networking, as it basically is a combination of the two. In the huge world wide web, it is easy to get lost in the sheer amounts of information (and disinformation). If you want to buy a television, as the person in the Friendize.me video, you will find a lot of reviews on the internet. But what to do if you find some positive ones, some mildly positive reviews and a few that are outright negative about the television you thought about buying? Wouldn’t it be easy if a friend that already owns the television or knows a lot about technology could advise you? This is exactly what social shopping platforms does: people you trust give advice.
Some of the Main Websites and Apps for Social Shopping
Two distinctions could be made within social shopping: some of the platforms focus more on sharing products they love (For example Wanelo: WAnt-NEed-LOve) and other focus more on giving and receiving expertly advice, mostly on bigger purchases (such as a new notebook or washing machine), and are more likely to give a monetary compensation to both parties.
When you join Wanelo, you are asked what brands, stores and people you are interested in. As soon as you started following a number of these categories (they advise a minimum of three stores and people), your feed will become personalised. When you saved some products from this feed, you can also ask Wanelo for some “magic” – it will find products that people that saved similar products as you did. You will get to know new products that are most probably close to your taste.
Wanelo is great for showing consumers new and interesting products and also for bringing together the many stores and products you like in one place, however marginal they may be in the offline world. In short, Wanelo is about building your favourite online personal mall.
Friendize.me is a website and app that lets you connect with your friends and fellow shoppers to receive and get advice on mostly bigger purchases. Friendize.me allows you to sift through a lot of information and get the advice you trust. As Friendize.me puts it: “Product discovery and shopping is a data driven process, however the amount and reliability of the data is an Achilles’ heel of almost any shopping experience. The “signal to noise ratio” is constantly decreasing as does the trust towards the Internet; the importance of finding trusted recommendations is growing.”
How you could use social shopping and the future of social shopping (or: is social shopping the future?)
Friendize.me can be added to your online store, there is for example a free integration with Shopify available. This app will provide shoppers with relevant social reviews and trusted on-demand recommendations from knowledgeable friends. The newly received recommendation from friends will lead them back to your shop and thus provide you with additional opportunity to re-engage the customer.
The numbers indicate that social shopping is the future. Friendize.me made a very good point by noting that there is more and more noise on the internet – and along with that less and less trust. Platforms that are built on trust may prove to be the orientation points and bulwarks in the increasing chaos of the internet. What platform to choose and how to use it?
We quite like Wanelo.com. It has a lot of stores associated with it and a lot of new products are added every day. By visiting it you will see social shopping is alive. If you are in fashion or sell smaller stuff, consider opening your Wanelo store. Wanelo’s user base is female dominated (90%) with 60% of them being younger than 25.
Wanelo is one of the bigger platforms, although it only started back in 2012. Social shopping seems to be taking off. We will keep track of it so make sure to check back for updates!