Shopping is an inherently social process. Whether visiting a store with others, or showing off a new purchase to friends, people continually seek to emulate and bounce ideas off one another.
New shopping social network Nuji facilitates this process online. In 2011, Dean Fankhauser co-founded Nuji, which lets people curate their own shops online by saving items from e-commerce sites, logging wish lists, and following people with similar tastes. Now the site has 150,000 tagged items from 15,000 stores.
The site works by inviting members to use a Nuji bookmark to tag items online. Users can also scan barcodes with their mobile phones, or take pictures of products to upload them. Once an item is tagged from a store, Nuji creates a page for the store to which other items can be added. When people see an item on the site, they can click through to buy it.
‘We were inspired to create Nuji as a platform for discovery,’ says Fankhauser. ‘Finding things through Google or Amazon is great as long as you know what you want. But there is a big gap before that.’
Rather than suggesting items to users with algorithms that recommend things based on people’s search history, Nuji lets users post items they like on their profiles for others to see. This enables them to scan for things that they like, based on the people with whom they identify and share interests.
‘Discovering things is more interesting through people than it is through algorithms,’ says Fankhauser. ‘I think that a great opportunity in social commerce lies in enabling you to connect to people with similar tastes but who aren’t necessarily your friends or family.’
Nuji differs from other sites that enable people to share items in that it is more specialised. ‘People can sometimes find sharing items on Facebook uncomfortable as it is not always what people on that social graph want to see,’ says Fankhauser.
Fankhauser hopes that Nuji will enable people to find smaller, more niche retailers as the site places small retailers on the same level as bigger chains and stores.
‘Online, everyone shops at sites such as ASOS or John Lewis, as they are big and have everything. Nuji enables smaller boutiques to be placed on a pedestal in equal measure to the larger stores,’ says Fankhauser.
For more on how consumers are curating their own shopping pages, read our Social Selling microtrend.
Top five take-outs
1. Make shopping social. People love to share and confer with each other before and during the buying process.
2. Make it personal. Nuji enables people to curate items that express their personality. Just as in other social media, profiles are an extension of people’s individuality.
3. Steer your customers away from stuffocation. Nuji shows people items they are interested in, and avoids the information overload that we explore in our Intuitive Futures macrotrend.
4. Celebrate the small. Nuji puts small retailers the same level as large ones, which lets people discover niche and rare items.
5. Create a specialised network. Nuji is successful because of its narrow focus on shopping. Everyone on the network is engaged in the items and interests of others.