Evolution of Online Shopping: The Social Shopping Network
With the internet taking over many industries, it is no wonder that shopping online has become many peoples go to form of purchasing goods. From grocery shopping to clothes, our technology has revolutionized our shopping experience. What is interesting is that online shopping has taken a new turn. It is not only independent stores offering their goods online but a variety of aggregated shopping networks. There is a rise in the number of Social Shopping Networks and a growing interest in the idea of the "online mall".
In the past five years the definition of social shopping has drastically changed. As an article on pcmag.com states: "A mere five years ago social shopping usually meant a brand had a Facebook page, Twitter handle, and sharing buttons on their retail website. Now it's much more." The "much more" part is what I am interested in.
Social shopping, as it is referred to now, is the experience of interacting, sharing, liking, reviewing and buying items with other online users. It mimics the interactions of a shopping mall, which provides the reassurance one sometimes needs when making purchases. Online shopping is becoming a fun, social experience where people enjoy sharing products, creating personal collections and accessing lists of liked or wanted items of other online shoppers. This atmosphere makes it easy to share in the shopping experience with friends and find like-minded people all over the world.
Sites such as flerika.com, have created this social environment people having been waiting for. Users can add products to the website from their favourite stores, enabling them to easily share with their friends and other users what they like. They also have a community blogging platform giving users the option to share their passions and shopping experience in a blog post. Other sites that offer a similar community are more product specific. Polyvore, for example, which focuses on social networking for fashion lovers. Their site offers a social shopping network based strictly on clothing products.
These sites are exemplary of the direction social shopping has taken. People want the social aspect of being in a shopping mall and these sites are giving them just that. What also makes these sites revolutionary is the ease in which shoppers can purchase and find products. Pages are catered to the different types of shoppers that are browsing. Sites like flerika.com, amazon.com, and newegg.com that offer a wide variety of affiliates to shop from alongside non affiliates, have simple and organized nature which makes for a pleasant shopping experience. Whether you need to buy an item quickly or want to join in the social aspect of sharing and discussing products this is where it's at.
Many fears of our society becoming anti-social due to internet games and increasing accessibility are being subsided due to the rise in social networks. Social shopping is an extension of this human need to connect. These networks are augmenting the online shopping experience into something that only a few years back was not possible. It will be interesting to see the development of social shopping over the course of the next few years and see the innovative ideas each of the platforms will be offering the online world.