Call it the thrill of the hunt. Some of us love to shop and some of us are obsessed. Sometimes the next best things to actually buying anything are browsing and chatting about merchandise—and planning what we will buy with that tax return. The continual evolution of social networking and consumer-generated content (known as web 2.0), is allowing Internet shoppers to move beyond impersonal transactions to partake in shop-talk. It’s one thing to talk your girlfriends and get their opinions on the latest must-have items, but it’s totally different to get recommendations from and provide feedback to a couple hundred-thousand fellow consumers.
Social shopping sites offer what comparison shopping sites don’t and web retailer sites can’t. Social shopping sites connect consumers and allow discussions and recommendations, unlike comparison shopping sites, which typically focus on weighing product prices and attributes. Furthermore, they are independent of e-retailer sites and e-retailer consumer product reviews.
There are more than two dozen social shopping sites to date and they just keep coming. They include Kaboodle, ShopWiki, StyleFeeder, ThisNext, StyleHive and CrowdStorm. Register for free and create a profile that includes favorite products and product categories as well as information about yourself. They then add links to the products in their profiles or products they post on the site that take fellow users to a specific product page on an e-retailer site, where social shopping site users can make purchases.
According to Internet Retailer: Social shopping sites already are
having a significant impact on how people shop, and e-retailers should
take them seriously, advises Jeremy Dalnes, vice president of
e-commerce at Panasonic Corp. of North America. “I have personally
responded to consumer feedback on social shopping sites and blogs,”
Dalnes says. “And you could see the difference before I posted and
after. People reacted in a great way, saying they were happy with the
way the company was taking care of them by responding.”
The impact of social sites already is noticeable, says Shyam Krishnan,
program manager and team leader at research and consulting firm Frost
& Sullivan. “E-commerce is being redefined: In this case, a
multitude of shoppers are able to interact and pick and choose and
recommend products with other shoppers online,” Krishnan says. “This
will go a long way in helping online retailing.”