“Social” and “shopping” have gone hand in hand since the dawn of time. From an offline perspective, shopping at stores with a friend was popular back in the day. In the 1960’s, when malls began to spring up, it was common to aggregate groups of friends to go to the mall, walk around, shop and buy things. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
I started working in eCommerce just as it was getting started. Little did I know in 1999 what a strong evolution the online channel would form in a relatively short period of time.
Fast forward to the 20 teens. Technology is as pervasive as television became not too long after its advancement into the family home. Now, a majority of the people in developed nations are connected to some sort of device which, in turn, is likely connected to some sort of network. The combination of these connections has created the odd paradigm that more people keep up with one another real-time, while at the same time spend less time together in person. That has led to the rise in social networks where people can maintain (and even prosper) relationships while utilizing the technology of devices and networks.
Now, with millions (and by some counts Billions) of people online, engaged in social networking, and sharing a wealth of information it is almost impossible to comprehend and decipher all the information that is out there. Friends share all of that information. That has turned into a large peer-to-peer influence that takes place online and manifests in the modern “social shopping” where a snap of a picture, the click of a button, and a few key strokes with a new language (OMG) convey approval and criticism in the blink of an eye.
I have seen one company that has gotten into this fray of information and is working to disseminate that information for users in a meaningful way. That company is ToggleShift and they have debuted their basic product in the form of a social search/shopping engine called Ravesy.
Ravesy was conceived and built on the premise of cutting through the clutter that exists in the billions of posts, updates and likes across sites like Facebook, twitter and Pinterest.
The “noise” can be overwhelming. At the end of the day, people want to know what is trendy at the current time and to know that the information shared is constantly re-evaluated and updated based on the new prevailing trends. If you think about it, Google provides search results (and often on a lag or biased by how websites build content). Ravesy provides trend results. By definition, trend is “a general direction in which something is developing or changing.” Social shopping is certainly more about trends than it is about content on a page.
Online and offline shopping habits will continue to ebb and flow as new technology and new means to shop are built. For the last fifteen years I have ridden on the top of that wave and enjoyed seeing all the new things that come along. It will be interesting to see what the next fifteen years holds for consumers.