Win-Win-Win Experience in Group Shopping Through Social Networking


Customer: Can I join an existing group?

BusinessRep: Yes. But a group will be locked once it met the required number of people.

BusinessRep: The website forms the group. It sends emails to a few in the group and collects quotations from them. You may be one of them.

Customer: Why should I get the quotation? I thought, the site gets the quotation from the vendors.

BusinessRep: This is a social networking site for bringing down the price through group bargain.

Customer: Hmmm…

BusinessRep: The vendors can also provide quotations for an existing group. But the site will encourage the customers more to represent their groups.

BusinessRep: You will bargain from your local stores only and your group members will be from your city only.

Customer: Who will be the group members? Do I know them? It is very difficult for me to get quotes for an unknown group.

This was a piece of a conversation the business representative of a site that works based on the principles of social networking for group bargaining targeted towards volume discounts had with a customer in their chat page. This customer looks to be frightened when he learns that he may be asked to get quotations for an unknown group of people.

Is it really that frightening to fetch quotations for a group which we won’t know in person? The website is really a social networking site offering the customers to get grouped. Instead of sending the entire group in person to the stores for bargaining, it selectively asks a few from the group to play the role of a group representative.

Of course, the selected representative will be in a kind of forced-situation to trust the website’s claim about the group size and their authenticity. How to get the confidence and trust levels of the shoppers and make them fearless and willing to be volunteering for a group shopping representative job? It is very obvious that this shopping model will fail if it doesn’t build enough amounts of trust and confidence. Here is a way to make this shopping experience less painful and interesting.

No-No-No solution for a Win-Win-Win situation

Customers – Vendors – Website: This is the triangular force that makes the shopping experience nice and reasonable and all the three players should be made to trust each other in order to make the group bargains to be effective and beneficial in a social networking scenario.

More than the trust and confidence, they should be allowed to play their role fair and free. Instead of making the system rigid, we can allow them to be lot less coupled and allow succeeding only when the end results (quotations) are beneficial to everyone in the equation: Customers, Vendors and the web platform.

Any player in this triangle shall not be made liable for any deviations from their original intents. This would ensure the people to be willing to participate in a win-win-win group shopping through social networking.

A customer need not stick to his intentions of buying an item until the entire purchase is completed. He can join a group but need not necessarily buy the product, even if it is quoted best.

A vendor need not stick to his promised quotation price as he is not sure how many of the group members will buy from him. He even may be run by various other factors such as time. A quote may be good only for a specific duration, say, a week, or a month and so on.

Even the site shall not own the responsibilities for any deviation that the customer or vendors make in their dealings. It shall just offer a platform for the customers and vendors to coordinate between themselves. Virtualization is the only thing the site takes care for. The site keeps the group members anonymous from each other. It shall also keep the quotes of the customers and vendors transparent. It shall be responsible for a fair playing in processing the best quote.

There is definitely a considerable amount of responsibilities on the shoulders of the web platform. Any social networking site would have these responsibilities towards the public they are serving.

Who is at loss in the above equation? Is it really the customer or the vendor or is it really the website? I honestly say: None.

In fact, every one in this is a winner. The customers are becoming bargain-powerful. The vendor is still making his business, even though he loses a little bit from his profit. But he has every opportunity to make his profit in other upcoming groups. When the groups are continual, the vendor can rely upon such streams for steady profits.


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