Shopping is the New Queen in the Social Arena
If you think the social arena is just about Facebook—then you are light-years behind your customer. Just as you get a grasp on connecting with your customer through one social media platform, she is moving on to the next—and in this case it is more than just a conversation. She is curating, buying, and sharing her experience with her friends—all from the comfort of her home. Best of all, it is fun.
With eCommerce sites popping up all around, you can no longer rely on the excuse of: people won’t buy online because they will want to feel the fabric or see the color in person. The fact is people are buying everything from jets to sofas online, without even seeing it. Gilt Home recently said the fastest growing category of their online flash sales site was sofas!
Aiding in this process, and making it a fun, unique and a social experience for the customer is a new wave of shopping—social shopping. Consider it the “tangerine tango” of the eCommerce world. Often combining social media and eCommerce, social shopping takes in many different aspects of the social web, including likes, friends, voting, comments, etc., and focuses them on one of America’s favorite hobbies—shopping.
Social shopping has been a big hit in the fashion industry for the last two years. Sites like Polyvore, which has more than 13 million unique visitors a month, allows users to curate product images from all over the web and build “outfits”, which they can then easily buy with the click of a mouse.
Some of these sites will link directly to your online store, while others are cashing in on the opportunity to sell directly to your customer.
While social shopping sites take on many forms, such as flash sale sites like Gilt, Fab.com and One Kings Lane, the area that is really seeing growth are sites that allow users to be social curators and create ‘boards’ or ‘lists’ such as Pinterest, Polyvore and Olioboard. Most of these sites have an eCommerce tool that will allow a user to buy directly from the retailer’s website. There are literally thousands of sites out there that are now offering your customer a social shopping experience—and the number of sites grows daily.
If there are so many, where should I focus?
It’s overwhelming—I should know—I was distracted for hours just researching (and joining) sites for this article (thank you social login)! There is no right or wrong place to focus your efforts and find ways to partner with these sites. The best place to start is to ask your customer what sites she visits. Also ask the specific site about their audience and reach. Lastly, you could look into some of the industry specific sites, such as Olioboard, Pure Home and Houzz. No matter where you end up, know that social shopping is the first step in a shopping revolution. If you aren’t ready to dive in, at least visit a few of these sites—it will give you tremendous insight into the mind of the female consumer!
Learn more about the social shopping players and the next generation of shopping in our July issue!
Fancy: Part store, blog, magazine and wishlist. It’s a place to discover great stuff, to curate a collection of things you love, to get updates on your favorite brands and stores and to share your discoveries.
Mulu: A social platform for sharing the things you love and making the world a better place at the same time. Users can ask questions such as: I’m looking for a poster bed that is a good balance of contemporary and modern styling?
Olioboard: For interior designers and design enthusiasts, Olioboard is an easy and intuitive application for creating digital mood boards.
Pinterest: If you don’t know what this is yet, we have A LOT more work to do.
Polyvore: The web’s largest fashion community site, where users are empowered to discover their style and set trends around the world. Also includes interior design and furniture.
Pure Home: Pure Home is a community for anyone seeking inspiration to explore new color palettes, discover decor trends and products for their home, and connect or share with like minds.
Stylmee: Allows users in the fashion and interior design communities to create virtual 3D boutiques.
Svpply: Site members can keep track of the things they want to buy, and to browse a personal feed of products from across the web, curated and filtered by the people and stores they find interesting.