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Four important characteristics of social shopping

Shopping, Social software

You might call it social shopping or tweet commerce or shopping 2.0 or something else entirely. But whatever you call it, the way we find and buy products has changed. And it’s going to keep changing for the foreseeable future. This new world of social shopping runs on interactions that are immediate, social, personal and simple.

Immediate

We expect things to happen in real time. For example, if I decide I want to buy a new swimsuit, I will immediately go to a site like Victoria’s Secret, look around for a suit I like, find a coupon code on CheapTweet or RetailMeNot, and buy it. I don’t have the patience to wait for a special sale or go to the mall to spend an afternoon trying things on. I want the suit right away, and I expect that I can use a social shopping site to help me buy that suit for less the moment I decide I need it. And if I can find a coupon for free upgraded shipping, that’s even better. That’s one reason Zappos is so successful – their stuff arrives fast. I don’t want to wait for things on the web.

Social

We want to talk about our purchases before and after we buy them. When I’m looking at swimsuits, I want to check with others who already bought the same or a similar suit before actually making the purchase. I need to know how it fits, what the color and fabric actually look like, if someone found a better deal somewhere else. And I will definitely share my purchase experience on Twitter or the store’s website if things went especially well or particularly not well.  When the suit finally arrives at my house, I’ll definitely want to talk about it online. I want to read and write reviews of products, and discuss my entire shopping experience, in the hopes that it will someday help someone else make a purchasing decision.

Personal

We expect that our shopping experience will be customized to our own needs and preferences. If I have a question about a swimsuit, a one-size-fits-all FAQ may not answer it. Instead, I might want to talk a customer service representative. But I would rather do that on Twitter than calling a help line, because calling 800 numbers takes forever and, frankly, sucks. I want Victoria’s Secret to remember the items I purchased and viewed today, so that next time I visit their site, they’ve already got suggestions ready to help me find something new. I want personalized recommendations and tips about sales on things I might like to buy.

Simple

We want this experience to be simple and straightforward. I want search that actually searches for what I’m looking for, I want to be able to find things I like with a minimum number of clicks, and I want to easily understand just what it is that I’m buying. I don’t want to be automatically signed up for an email newsletter, but if I decide that’s how I want to receive updates, then that signup form should be simple to find and short. If I’d rather receive updates through RSS, the site should support RSS. I shouldn’t have to sign up for an account to buy something, and I should be able to tell what’s in my shopping cart at a single glance. If the site is designed so poorly I can’t navigate it easily, I’m going somewhere else.

Basically, social shopping interactions mirror our other online interactions. We expect simplicity and speed, but won’t sacrifice a social, personalized experience. That’s the environment both shoppers and sellers find themselves in right now, and I expect that we’re going to see a lot of changes over the next few years in both how we shop and where we shop.

Jenn @ April 20, 2009

9 Comments

  1. chenyan March 9, 2010 @ 9:04 am

    And I will definitely share my purchase experience on Twitter or the store’s website if things went especially well or particularly not well. When the suit finally arrives at my house, I’ll definitely want to talk about it online

  2. nike kicks April 14, 2010 @ 1:13 am

    When the suit finally arrives

  3. christianlouboutinpayless Sandals May 10, 2010 @ 10:33 pm

    e experience on Twitter or the stor

  4. Eric August 25, 2011 @ 10:12 am

    Thanks for an interesting blog!

  5. James October 30, 2011 @ 12:22 am

    The best part of shopping online is that all you need is a computer and breeze through from the comfort of your home and just click and buy.

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  9. bebe coupons March 24, 2016 @ 7:04 am

    Really, these four characteristics are really important but another thing is really important and that is review of the product that you’re purchasing. First read the review and then finalize your decision.

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