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Strut Approaches Shopping From A Social Angle

New App Makes The Shopping Community Mobile

While websites like Amazon have certainly revolutionised shopping – making it cheaper, more convenient, and easier to do in your underpants while eating beans on toast – they have thus far failed to replicate one of the less recognised, but still vital, aspects of the experience. For many, shopping is a social act. Whether they’re going with friends, chatting with sales staff, or trying on clothes while their boyfriend tries to work out how to slit his wrists with a coathanger, the communicative aspect of shopping is as old as shops themselves.

New shopping app Strut is thus approaching the issue from an innovative angle. As co-founder Mark Daniel says, “Most of the social commerce companies are trying to innovate around the buy button. We’re thinking about the next great network or platform.”

While most ecommerce services base their recommendation algorithms around items which you’ve already viewed or purchased, Strut combines the global advisory board which sites like Twitter perform as with the aspirational aesthetic of sites like Pinterest.

As users view items, as well as having the option to purchase them , they can save them for later (I can’t get those Jimmy Choos now, but maybe at Christmas…) and send them to friends (you know if you were thinking about a Christmas gift I was looking at these shoes…) either as inspirations or recommendations.

The idea is to recreate the feel of flipping through fashion magazines combined with the experience of discussing items with friends.  The aim is to respond to how people tend to shop if left to their own devices: by researching across brands, taking advice from trusted individuals, and taking inspiration from exclusive high-cost items, rather than taking recommendations from a computer programme.

The app’s development comes at an interesting time, considering Facebook’s recent announcement that they intend to introduce a buy button onto business pages on the social networking site. Theoretically, Facebook should be perfectly situated to undertake on a mass scale exactly the kind of attitude which Strut is bringing to ecommerce, considering the vast pre-established user base and viewing data which they have access to.

By tying their on-site purchase technology to brand pages rather than integrating it into user-to-user communication, however, Facebook seem to be following exactly the path which Strut is trying to avoid. There’s no telling what the future will hold, however; Zuckerberg’s stated intent to focus on the messaging aspect of social networking (presaged by the splitting off of Facebook Messenger into a stand-alone app) suggests that there may be any kind of feature integration coming in the future.

The idea of constructing a social network around a specific activity is nothing new: Pinterest has done it with home decorating, Instagram with photos, and LinkedIn with business. The advantage of building it around shopping is that there is a very clear revenue stream built in, and that will no doubt attract the attention of businesses which may otherwise shy away from emerging social networks with less clear prospects for monetisation.

Douglas is an English Literature graduate who has written about everything from music to food to theatre, now a content creator for Social Media Frontiers. No topic too large or too small. Follow him @DouglasAtSMF.

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Strut Approaches Shopping From A Social Angle Reviewed by Anonymous on Thursday, August 28, 2014 Rating: 5
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