There are lots of situations where you want to go shopping with a friend or family. You might be buying something new to you where you value the advice of a trusted friend who knows more about a product, such as a new computer. Or you might want to buy something for a friend’s special event, such as a wedding or anniversary, and share the cost with another friend. Or perhaps you just want to go shopping with a friend, just as you always did – taking an afternoon together and going off to the mall and enjoying the experience of sharing views and swapping advice.
Online shopping has been growing in leaps and bounds, but for the most part, shopping online has been a solitary affair. Which means what’s missing is all the fun of sharing as well as the value of the input of others.
Collaborative shopping has been growing in popularity because of this need. It has been around for a few years, in concept. Some collaborative shopping has been possible through Facebook and other social media, or simply through texting and even email. But those approaches have been limited.
Last year, Google introduced a collaborative shopping feature that enables a user to cruise the internet and select particular items for consideration and capture their details on a shopping list. They can then share that list with a friend and then the two of them can make a purchase decision, through an exchange of comments on the shopping list.
This approach is closer to the real thing, but it is asynchronyous, which takes away from the excitement of collaborative shopping.
A better approach is for vendors to include collaborative shopping functionality in their own website, which can enable shoppers both to log in at the same time, and share their experience together, comparing items, commenting back and forth, and where necessary reaching agreement.
Some companies are offering interesting products, such as BevyUp, that can be added into vendor websites for this purpose and can offer a rich collaborative shopping experience.
This is the age of social media and sharing many things on the internet. As more retailers go this route on their websites, collaborative shopping may become the next big thing.