Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Online shopping goes social

The Financial Times has published an article about the new growth area of social shopping, where the popular trend of social networking is being combined with shopping websites so that new trends are generated by peer-to-peer recommendation. Dubbed Web 3.0, to take the current Web 2.0 trend a step further, it describes the increasing focus of social networking activities to create a business purpose and focus within 'vertical' markets.

Amazon has been developing 'recommended' shopping links for years in an attempt to cross-sell to online customers, plus it publishes user reviews. However, new shopping community sites are taking this a step further to that their active user base will drive product sales and recommendations in the same way that many music sites are now using this technique.

This use of community activity is a natural trend in the way that the Internet is being used, yet it has inherent risks for companies that manage the sites and who may lose some element of control over the way the site (or product range) develops, and for suppliers or marketers who may want to manipulate the sites to their own ends, or respond to negative trends.

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