Social shopping can be described as a mixture of social networking and online shopping. It is said to provide not only a solution for consumers looking for products to buy, but also one for companies looking for ways to get more potential purchasers to their sites and buying their products. This type of shopping involves consumer environments that work in a similar fashion to various social networking sites. People visit a site and communicate with others about products they're buying, thinking of buying, or already own. They learn about prices and deals from other consumers while also sharing their own knowledge and experiences with other shoppers.
Not all sites handle social shopping in exactly the same way. Some of them focus on allowing site visitors to create personalized shopping lists, which they can then share with others on the Web. Sites may handle this type of setup by providing a platform through which consumers can create, post, and compare product reviews. This can be a big draw for consumers, who often search for consumer reviews before making purchases. They may be less trusting of reviews provided by product manufacturers or store personnel.
Some people define social shopping by comparing it with online shopping. For example, when a consumer shops online, he tends to seek a particular product and may not have a clear idea about other products that might complement it or even completely different products he might be interested in instead of or in addition to the product he logged on to buy; an ordinary online retailer may not list such items together. With this type of shopping, on the other hand, consumers may be able to find reviews, product comparisons, pricing information and other interesting products all in the same place. This may give consumers more of a shopping experience than they get from simply clicking on a purchase link on a website.
Photos are typically a big part of the social shopping experience. These services usually allow consumers to not only create their own customized shopping lists but also post photos of the products they list. They tend to make it easy for customers to get and post images as well. Often, social shopping services provide free, downloadable software that makes getting and posting photos and sharing them a quick and painless process.
Social shopping is not just beneficial for consumers who want to share what they know about goods for sale and browse what others have posted. It may also provide an income source for the social shopping site. For example, these sites may sell advertising to retailers or earn money through pay-per-click programs. They might even provide marketing-related information about their posters and visitors to retailers. Retailers also benefit from the increased exposure to their products; they may find that social shopping sites allow them to serve consumers who may not have found them otherwise.