Retailers should get savvy about social shopping

Social shopping is not exactly a new phenomenon but it’s something I’ve only just cottoned on to and I think retail brands are missing a trick by not encouraging their customers to get involved.

US social shopping site Wishpot.com launched in the UK last week adding to the growing number of online shopping communities such as shopstyle.com and OSoYou.co.uk that combine the content from hundreds of retailers on to one digital platform.

Wishpot allows shoppers to search, save and share items from a number of retailers into online lists. At the very least it makes it easy to compile something like a wedding list across several retailers rather than being restricted by one retailer’s products.

ForeSee, the online customer satisfaction measurement firm has also revealed some interesting research about how retailers are and should be using social media to engender loyalty with consumers.

Almost 70% of online shoppers use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter and more than half of these decide to “follow” or become a “fan” of retailers and brands to find out about new products and promotions.

What was interesting about the stats the research threw up is that three quarters chose to follow fewer than five retailers or brands.

I think this points towards the growth of social shopping networks like Shopstyle and Wishpot because they host hundreds of brands from high street retailers to designers together in one arena and allow users to compile lists, put items together, share thoughts with friends and buy items.

It’s the next step of e-commerce and changes the entire experience of shopping online in a way that retailers should be making more of because it does not dilute the individual brand but enhances the experience of their customers.

Retailers do not exist in isolation and it would be naïve for a retailer to think that shoppers aren’t already browsing their competitor sites, so why not make it easy to do so and build a community around it to engage with customers.

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