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Jonathan Briggs in NMA: What you recommend may not be what I want

Posted on Fri, 1 Jul 2011 by Jonathan Briggs

Do you like this blue sweater or this pair of sneakers? We’re friends online and I’ve just bought them, so perhaps you should buy them too. I know I’ll enjoy going into the office and discovering that my purchase choices have been copied exactly by all my co-workers.

What do you think of that camera you bought recently? Were you influenced by the reviews on the sites you searched? You should write a review too because you’re obviously now an authority on this model, having owned it for a week.

These scenarios highlight two of the problems with the rush towards social shopping: overly connected recommendations and uninformed reviews.

In the past we made buying choices based on many factors and, as ecommerce becomes more sophisticated, we need to replicate these online. They included brand loyalty, price, availability, functionality, fitness for purpose and exclusivity. We also used to be highly influenced by reviews by people we considered to be experts, whether they were Sunday Times journalists or Which? specialists...

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