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July 18th, 2011 by Mythreyi Krishnan under Commentary

Social commerce revolutionizing online shopping

We already share information, debate politics, discuss our favorite celebrity’s latest antics and even make plans for dinners and birthdays on our social networks. They have become highly integrated in our daily lives to the point where many of us have become addicted to the F5 key, constantly hungry for updates. So it seems like a natural progression as shopping too enters the social world.

Online shopping is not a new concept , but integrating social elements into the experience is a new twist that is being embraced worldwide. Social shopping services are tech heavy relying on the prevalence of social media and technologies like smart phones and tablets. Another factor spurring social commerce is the fact that we are highly influenced by opinions originating in our social networks. Word of mouth buzz online can make or break a brand! For instance, a 2010 study conducted in the US revealed that 17% of respondents had used a social shopping site to buy something and more than 60% of all respondents had heard of or registered at these sites. 17% might not seem that big but this trend is sure to catch on with internet penetration increasing rapidly in developing countries and more such services springing up every day.

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In terms of demographics, it’s the 18-34 age group that is most actively buying socially whilst those earning over $100,000 annually spending the most.

Group buying

Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past couple of months, you might have heard of Groupon, arguably the most successful daily deal provider. Services like Groupon and LivingSocial provide cheap deals everyday and receive a lot of air time on twitter and facebook as users have shown a penchant for sharing these deals with their friends on social platforms.

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Integration

Users are able to connect their facebook accounts to their amazon accounts to get access to product recommendations, based on their own data, as well as friends’ profiles and preferences. This feature could come in handy when you are trying to buy gifts for friends. In addition, you can also get information on birthdays and access their friends’ wish lists.

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Real time shopping

Labels like French connection have been quick to adapt social commerce. They’ve cleverly turned their YouTube channel into Youtique, an online boutique where customers can browse through videos showcasing their latest collections.

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From the comfort of their homes, customers simply need to click the “Buy” pop up buttons which will then lead them to the website page with details about the product, where they can make the purchase.

With Social commerce catching on quickly, it is important for brands to integrate their customer’s shopping experience with the social networks they use. Not only will this bring more traffic but also pull in new customers via recommendations and the like.

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