Collaborative Shopping

When I read the book Why We Buy the author talked about how women shoppers tend to shop in groups heavily influenced by collective peer opinion. It has always bothered me that if this is how women like to shop then why is it that neimanmarcus.com does not allow it (no website allows it). Group shopping with multiple people looking at the same screen is not very efficient. So here is my idea….

Hypothetical Case: Neimanmarcus.com should have a ‘collaborative shopping’ feature. Once I click on this I am asked for my preferred time slot and email addresses of friends I’d like to invite. Once the time slot has been selected an email calendar invite is sent to my friends (just like on Google calendar). Once all friends accept the invite at the selected time slot when the invite originator browses Neimanmarcus.com friends see screen transitions from the originators perspective. Here is how collaborative shopping is performed: As the originator browses a certain category friends not only see the same items but can use a chat module for yay or nay votes. They can also make their own picks for the shopper. Ultimately neimanmarcus.com can further monetize by offering custom discounts based on the size and segment of the group.

This idea already exists in a completely different platform: console gaming. Boys play multiplayer games where they see a common screen and IM and chat through headsets. Why not extend the functionality to online shopping?

What situations best suite this feature?

– Friends that are dispersed geographically
– Family members shopping for a common family event
– Shopping for high consideration items
– Men shopping for their spouse and using her friends for help
– Girl who want to have a girls day out while they are still in the office

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