Do you social’ize when you shop online? by Ela Erozan Gürsel

onshopI live in Singapore, one of the most developed economies, an island state characterized by its order, cleanliness and strict rules. Singaporeans are hard workers who earn good salaries and indulge themselves by gourmet dinners, exotic travel and branded products. Shopping is the most enjoyable pastime.  From the very many malls and very many luxury fashion houses like Louis Vuitton, Prada and Chanel, you can tell that they like to shop in person by physically visiting the store, trying on dresses and enjoying the atmosphere of buying exclusive designs. On the other hand, they are not big fans of e-commerce.

They like spending time in the stores instead of in front of their computers to buy their favorite handbags.  However, Singaporeans are very fond of social networks. They love to update their Facebook status on their mobile gadgets while riding the metro or tweet about their day at work while waiting to meet up with friends.

scoryWhat if there is a business model that combines e-commerce with social networks? Would that attract the attention of Singaporean shoppers? Well, American entrepreneurs at the Silicon Valley thought about an interesting business, ‘a social shopping community.’ It is an online department store where shoppers and sellers meet. The shops range from independent sellers like boutiques, individual designers and global brands. They sell clothes to CDs, posters and hand made accessories. As a shopper, you can find interesting concepts for special gift ideas. If you’re already a social shopper or you’re willing to turn your shopping ideas into a small selling venture, you might want to check social shopping spaces like Storenvy.

{mosimage}Storenvy gives you free online space to start a social store where you can customize your store’s window as well as products.  The most powerful advantage of this site is that you become a part of a social community with thousands of shoppers visiting you virtually.  In shopping terms, this means that you opened a store in a mall that already has customers.

Who is the brain behind Storenvy? Jon Crawford is the founder of this social shopping website.  Since he graduated from college, he was determined to start his own business and he never worked for another company except freelance jobs and projects he took on to make a living. Instead of working for a technology company and implementing new products designed by others, Jon insisted on creating a product of his own.  His intention was to start small, he believed that dealing with small problems first would be his priority. So, he focused on the needs of small businesses and empowered them to be in control of their sales and interact with shoppers in an easy, fast and fun social environment.

Jon has always been a product person. He describes himself as a developer, more precisely, a hacker at heart.  From the very early days of podcasting and web programming, he felt strong about running an online business. He imagined an interactive platform where business is carried out utilizing super simple tools and online users enjoy being part of it because it is fun. The idea of Storenvy came from erasing the dull usually boring image of e-commerce by mixing it with social media. So, instead of blogs, Jon decided to use online stores as the players of the social web. He didn’t want to create an exclusive space, he rather preferred to open it to everyone for free. He valued community over revenue. Jon simply aimed to create a social website that all sellers and buyers are excited about.

As Turks, we are among the most friendly social web users: Almost 30 million Turks are on Facebook. This remarkable figure total places us at the top 5 countries that use Facebook. Linkedin, Foursquare and Twitter users are increasing with amazing pace. Although social shopping is a new concept, I am pretty sure Turkish social web users will discover and enjoy it pretty soon!

elaerozangurselEla Erozan Gürsel writes a weekly column named “Değişim Yelpazesi ” on global business trends for Dünya Gazetesi on behalf of Datassist for almost two years. Her feature topics include: green energy; climate change; impacts of financial crisis on companies, sectors and regions; innovative technologies in sciences, human resources and management; social networks transforming business and politics; changing dynamics of marketing and branding.

She also writes articles for international magazines published in Singapore.

Prior to her writing career, she worked at Datassist as a Project Manager in a project that combines human resources and mobile communications with the aim to connect blue-collar workers and employers through mobile phones. Before engaging in this exciting project, she was in pharmaceutical sales working for a multinational company. She graduated from American University, Washington, DC, majoring in International Studies with a concentration on International Business and Europe. She worked in Washington D.C. as an Account Manager at a boutique telemarketing firm that specializes in fund raising and publication renewals. She speaks Turkish, English, French, and Spanish. She currently resides in Singapore with her husband.


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