Social Shopping Coming to the iPhone? Apple iGroups Patent

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The most excellent trends and innovation site PSFK, widely used by agencies for creative stimulus, has just published it’s latest Future of Retail report (embedded below), outlining 10 big trends in retail.

Trend number 9, Instant Show & Tell: Friendly advice exchanged in real time covers, in addition to Diesel’s Facebook powered store cam and Levi’s Friends store, Apple’s upcoming iGroups service, an iOS (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad) application that would allow for the real-time formation of “groups” within one’s social networks using a shared location such as a store, concert or restaurant as the basis for privately sharing information.

Although there are no firm details about the iGroup commercial functionality (tech specs here), the application could help shoppers quickly discover nearby friends or contacts and solicit their advice on potential purchases or recommendations.  iGroups could could also be used for ‘team shopping’ such as searching for the best item or deal, as well as Tuangou-style mob shopping where groups of shoppers coalesce live to negotiate bulk discounts.  More on the iGroups app over at Patently Apple and Gizmodo.

The group buy potential of iGroups segways neatly into PSFK’s tenth big retail trend – Group Clout: Flexing the power of community, covering as you’d expect Groupon-style services, and the emerging opportunity for location-based social networking apps such as Foursquare and Gowalla to offer group discounts.  Interestingly, Apple has just had another patent published for temporary pop-up location-based iOS apps that could be used by retailers to offer live group-buy promotions.

PSFK presents Future of Retail report

As you might expect, the 10 trends in the PSFK report are heavily patterned by three retail meta trends recently identified by Google – O2S (online to store), mobile and social.  Useful creative stimulus for thinking about social commerce solutions – the key takeout: Think cross-channel!
  1. World As Retail Experience: Buy anything, anytime, anywhere
  2. Pre-view shopping: Visualize your trip before you go
  3. Tablet enabled service: Smart devices enable superior customer service
  4. Selling the ideal: Personal service for all
  5. Every store as flagship: Ultimate experience at every touchpoint
  6. Complementary Curation: If you like that, try this
  7. Revolving Decors: Ever changing scenery to keep stores fresh
  8. Taking the Store to the Customer: Coming to a location near you
  9. Instant Show & Tell: Friendly advice exchanged in real time
  10. Group Clout: Flexing the power of community

Waren Knight thanks Paul Marsden


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