I’ve recently read an article by Jeffrey Rayport called Demand-Side Innovation: Where IT Meets Marketing, in which Jeffrey talks about the dramatic impact that technology has had on media and consumer behavior in the past few years and how the online social networking marketplace is changing today’s business.
“On ThisNext, for example, users create profiles, maintain personal blogs, post recommended product lists, and promote their recommendations across these platforms. Their results are accessible to the community and also searchable from across the Web. Whereas Amazon and Shopzilla provide effective ways for users to confirm what they want and determine how best to buy it, sites like ThisNext guide consumers to discover what they want long before they've considered a specific product, category, or brand. In that sense, social shopping sites have the potential to wield enormous influence over what consumers actually consider and buy, and therefore, over how retail dollars flow.”
Indeed, Jeffrey recently pointed me and my colleagues to another article which provides a fascinating illustration of how social shopping might enter the physical retailing environment in very powerful ways and revolutionize the shopping experience. The article describes the new technology unveiled at the National Retail Federation convention that helps tech-savvy, young adults connect in real time with their friends to share their shopping experiences. For example, they can invite their friends to view what they tried on and get "hot or not" votes for each outfit, along with text messages. The “Social Retailing” demonstration, aimed at women ages 17-24, was featured in the X07 Store of the Future area of the exhibit hall and is currently tested by a high-end designer Nanette Lepore in her shop in New York's Soho. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal also did a good story on this technology that brings community-building tools and user-generated content capabilities into the retail store.
It will be really interesting to watch this space and see how these new social shopping sites and state-of-the-art retail technologies will reshape the future of retailing. Any thoughts?