Kate Carruthers|www.katecarruthers.com| Nov 2010
cling tenuously to existence. Thisdiagram by David Armanoillustrates thisphenomenon very well. He nicely illustrates the fact that we are moving from lowerengagement traditional media to higher engagement online social media. After all notmany people check their newspaper first thing in the morning, but some recentresearch indicated that many people
(or Twitter) before they go to thetoilet or brush their teeth in the morning.And the tools of the digital revolution – web 2.0, social media, social networking andmobile devices – have changed the way people interact with each other and withbrands.Facebook is probably the best example of this change (although there are other similarservices such as Twitter that are gaining ground). Facebook is important because it ischanging what real people are doing with real time and attention every day all aroundthe world.But let’s consider some other trends and have a brief look at the evolution of shoppingin the digital age.There are a number of trends here:
Rise of mobile devices
Word of mouth via social networks
Geo-social services (location based)
Putting geo-social into perspectiveSocial and collaborative shopping is reshaping the power relations betweenconsumers and sellers. New intermediaries are arising, ones who aggregate consumerdemand via shopping clubs. The fight for better value by consumers is shifting ontonew territory. And this shift will begin to manifest as changes in share of wallet fortraditional retail channels.The growing role of mobile devices also means that the shopping dynamic ischanging. Consumers can share realtime information and collaborate while they areon the move. In the past we had to connect online via fixed PCs, but now the devicesare always on and in our pockets and handbags.Sites like Facebook are picking up on this trend with their adoption of Places - a geo-social application that enables users to share their physical location with friends (thereare other contenders in the geo-social space too). And now the interesting thing is thatwe are seeing the merging of online and offline social activities with shopping and theintegration of micropayments - for example Facebook's relatively recent additionof Buxter
to enable peer-to-peer payments between friends.It is very early days yet. We do not know where these trends are heading in particular.However, it is clear that geo-social applications have the potential to close the loopbetween online social networks and real world activity, especially when these areconnected by online micropayment capabilities.