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Social Commerce: Social Shopping Sites
Shopping has always been a social activity. For generations, shoppershave been informing their purchase decisions by engaging others in theprocess. This is never truer than when purchasing clothing andaccessories. Window shopping with friends is practically a competitivesport, and spending the afternoon browsing the racks can be a bondingexperience. As the social web has matured, the shopping experience hasmoved online, with millions of people turning to “social shopping” websites and apps to interact with products, brands and trendsettingindividuals.In this POV we’ll discuss how social shopping sites are changing thegame for the fashion industry, and review some of the ways brands areexperimenting and succeeding in the space.
A Lookbook.nu member showsoffherUGGboots
Social Shopping: A Primer
Since the beginning of the web, people have been going online to exchange style advice and discussproducts they love. But it wasn’t until about 2005 that social networks began cropping up to capturethis interest. One of the first, and now one of the biggest, isKaboodle(acquired by Hearst in 2007),which draws anywhere from 1 million to 5 million unique visitors a month, depending on the time of year. But there are dozens of sites, both large and small, attracting tens of millions of people a month– fromStylehivetoStylecaster, from the aptly-namedGo Try It Onto the controversially-named
Fashism– and they all have something different to offer.
What do people do on social shopping sites?
For one thing, they don’t shop. Social shopping sites typically do not have e-commerce functionality,and instead many utilize affiliate programs which drive users away from their sites to purchase (moreon that below). People come to social shopping sites to discover new products, brands and trends,share their style, ask for and give advice and connect with likeminded individuals.
Shoppers can discover products in a myriad of ways on social shopping sites. Many sites have an activity feed,similar in nature to Facebook’s News Feed, which surfacescontent from people and brands they’re connected to, or fromnew things happening around the site. People can also searchfor keywords such as “summer dresses” or “holiday gifts” if they’re looking for something specific, or stumble upon newproducts as they’re interacting with the site.
Creating & Sharing:
Fashion is all about expression, and socialshopping sites have made it extremely easy for shoppers toshare their style with friends and strangers alike.Polyvore, forone, is built almost entirely on member-created “sets,” similar to fashion editorial spreads. These setsare populated with images users find around the web, as well as products that brands have uploaded
Kaboodle activity feed on ashopper’s homepage