Is social shopping replacing the high street and ecommerce?


Going shopping with your friends on the weekend is one of the most sociable activities we can do. Shoppers enjoy “making a day of it” or even getting the (sometimes critical) feedback from our friends or family about how an item of clothing looks on.  Who would have thought updating your wardrobe would become so interactive and a digital multi-channel experience? The retail industry has a new online dynamic that is ever expanding but the popularity of online shopping is growing at such a rate that traditional high street shops struggle to compete. Shops are beginning to discover different ways of improving the customer experience and focus on making shopping a truly sociable experience, and by doing this they can compete against anti-social online shopping.

A spanner has been thrown into the works. The social media world has realised that they can create an online social shopping environment that taps into the strengths of both online and offline retail channels.  Social media sites are adapting their business and revenue models so they can use their social presence to take advantage of the current online shopping market boom but we just might not have heard about them yet.

myStorey is a new platform that enables users to create their own Pinterest-style boards, with photo-tagging capabilities to let others know where they bought their items. This platform has taken the success of Pinterest to the next stage. Linking photo sharing and online buying is a fantastic and innovative way of changing the buying process for customers and keeping it social.

In response, Pinterest announced last week that they are taking a step towards encouraging users to actually purchase items with the introduction of price alerts. The social media platform has explained that this follows on from its previously released “pin price” feature which allows users to see the current price of product pins on the site. Interestingly, Pinterest has said that results have shown that product pins and price alerts generate higher click- through rates to e-commerce sites versus regular pins.

In the future we can expect social media shopping to grow but it may also have a large influence to other aspects of e-commerce, for example, the delivery of products. You could have your package delivered by a passerby on the way to work, or while running in the park, or waiting on a bench for your date. The idea of a delivery service that relies on strangers and aggregated location data from Twitter proves to be remarkably effective. TwetEx shows us that twitter has the power to change organisational processes and not just build brand awareness or be used just as a customer service tool. This concept shows us that if social media is used effectively then it can reduce company delivery times, costs, encourage employment and could be used in all product selling processes.

If social media sites are able to generate higher sales than e-commerce sites, become more sociable than high street shopping and reduce delivery costs, we may soon see shoppers flock to social media sites to buy the latest dress or tie. Perhaps it is just a matter of time? Share your opinions in the comment box below!

© Seattle Municipal Archives “Produce stall at Pike Place Market, 1939” Photo. Attribution 2.0 Generic

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