Future Of Retail: Group Clout

Customers are using online networks to collaborate on communal purchases that help increase their individual buying power.


This post is part of a PSFK Consulting project aimed at providing insight into the Future of Retail. Group Clout is one trend of ten that appears in our exploration of how technology and our senses play a role in the retail experience, both in and out of the store, from the perspective of brands, shoppers, retailers and communities.

Summary
Customers are using online networks to collaborate on communal purchases that help increase their individual buying power. By connecting with likeminded shoppers en masse, shoppers can take advantage of discounts and wield influence over the product and service offerings made by sellers.

At the same time, retailers are welcoming the access to a larger audience and the prospect of promoting greater sales and mind share.

Implications

•    Leverage mobile social networks reward and promote additional purchases among consumers who are already visiting your location
•    As groups band together to make discounted purchases, retailers need to be prepared to ensure that this initial shopping experience is a positive one, both increasing sales in the short-term and promoting long-term growth
•    Speak with communities to better understand their needs and receive their input on new products. this early involvement can help form instant audiences when a product reaches the marketplace
•    Encourage customers to interact with your brand through the offer of group discounts and community forums

Supporting Examples for Group Clout:

Daily Deals Offered For Group Buy-in
Groupon offers a daily deal in various cities throughout the US and Canada. the deal becomes valid only if a specified number of people commit to the purchase. Groups benefit from discounted prices and businesses receive a guaranteed number of customers.

Online Group Payment Platform
Wepay is a payment system that enables groups of users to set up shared financial accounts with varying levels of access, giving them a way to manage group payments and finances. the group accounts are FDIC-insured and can make payments via a Wepay Visa prepaid card, paper checks and electronic transfers

Collectively Buying Solar Power
San Francisco-based company, 1BoG, offers a service through which communities can gather to pool their collective buying power. the focus of the community is to generate enough buying power to purchase solar energy generators, an item that is too expensive to purchase as an individual.

Groups Decide Which Furniture Is Produced
Made.com connects customers directly to designers and asks them to vote on which pieces are produced and added to the site’s retail store. after an order is place, customers can keep track of the entire manufacturing process up until it is delivered to their door.

Consumer Network Rewards Ethical Businesses
Carrotmob is a network of consumers that rewards businesses that make socially responsible decisions. rather than boycott goods and services to promote change, members are able to focus their collective buying power and use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior amongst businesses.

Businesses Leverage Mobile Social Networks
Businesses are beginning to take advantage of the tools provided by mobile social networks like Foursquare and Gowalla, offering deals and promotions to customers that check-in to their shops. one potential outcome of this might be special discounts for large groups of people that all visit the same location simultaneously.

Request your free Copy Of The Future Of Retail Report here.

In just over 80 pages, PSFK Consulting provide an analysis of the Future of Retail. This free report explores a future from the perspective of brands, shoppers, retailers and communities – highlighting how technology and our senses play a role in the retail experience both in and out of the store. It features interviews with senior executives from Ace Hotel, Polyvore, Starbucks and Target. The trends identified within this document and the examples used to bring them to life are inspired by innovation from around the globe.

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