No, seriously, Squad Shopping offers lessons on the social nature of buying things

Source: Verishop
Jul 07, 2021

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt of a current article from the blog of Aptos.

Squad shopping — basically the use of video and/or screen-sharing technology to shop online with friends and family — may represent far more than a pandemic-fueled phenomenon targeting young women longing for social shopping connections.

The practice  briefly made headlines when Squadded Shopping Party launched in May 2020 and again when Verishop followed suit with its own version.

The retailer industry, however, isn’t paying all that much attention to the concept. Early adopters of Squadded include Sephora France, Goddiva in the UK and Mia Jewelry in India, among others.

These brands have strong appeal with younger women, who coincidentally have never really known life without FaceTime. They are far more comfortable with video calls than they are with audio calls and their phones are always at hand.

Moreover, studies regularly show reviews drive conversions and trusted reviews drive exponentially more conversions. And what is squad shopping if not an opportunity to gather trusted reviews from friends — on items that are already in their shopping cart? Clearly, the immediacy and contextual relevance inherent in squad shopping parties combine to form a powerful conversion elixir.

Yet the key lesson to take from the squad shopping trend isn’t that it is about to hit the mainstream, but rather that it’s a reminder of the value of shopping as a social activity. For centuries, shopping together has provided us the opportunity to make connections, seek validation for our purchases and create memories with friends.

Squad shopping, whether it ultimately thrives or fades, is merely an embodiment of all these things. So are smart mirrors in fitting rooms when they help us solicit feedback from friends and in-store workshops that bring people together to engage with products and each other.

Regardless of the medium, it’s that trusted feedback, that validation and those communal experiences that really matter. Because those experiences significantly impact conversions.

Squad shopping teaches us that we have to constantly look for new and creative ways to make it easy for our customers to shop together, and to do so in ways that deliver contextual relevance and immediacy.

When we facilitate shopping together, we facilitate buying together. And that’s serious business.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of the potential of squad shopping and online shopping with others overall? Are the benefits of shopping with others as great if done online as they are in-store?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
"Squad shopping is real and is here to stay. Humans crave connection and squad shopping is not only social but also provides validation to the shopper."

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9 Comments on "No, seriously, Squad Shopping offers lessons on the social nature of buying things"

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Neil Saunders

Squad shopping isn’t going to become the predominant method of buying online. However among certain demographics it is popular and injects a very social element into what can be a fairly isolated experience. From the statistics I have seen, it also drives up conversion and average spend relative to when those same individuals shop online alone. In some ways, it is a digital alternative to browsing retailers at the mall with your friends. Not for everyone, but certainly another interesting development that came to the fore during the pandemic.

Liza Amlani

Squad shopping is real and is here to stay. Humans crave connection and squad shopping is not only social but also provides validation to the shopper. It brings friends aka squads together where they can experience the shopping journey together.

It’s not about the benefits of online vs. in-store squad shopping – the premise is still the same. The purpose is the social interaction and the experience of doing something together.

Dave Bruno

I couldn’t agree more, Liza. The value of social interaction is the real lesson in squad shopping!

Melissa Minkow

The power in squad shopping has always made sense for Gen Z since they are such a digitally native cohort, but now it even makes sense for all generations. The last 15 months have taught shoppers that an omnichannel path to purchase still allows for the ample decision support we crave, and squad shopping is a way to digitally facilitate decision support. We are continuing to embrace alternative ways of building a sense of community around shopping (e.g. livestreaming), so I only see squad shopping and online shopping becoming more popular.

DeAnn Campbell

Teenagers since the dawn of retail have used shopping as major source of group entertainment. Making a purchase is so much more satisfying when your posse gives you the thumbs up! This is a key reason why brick-and-mortar shopping still comprises over 70 percent of all purchases, despite the popularity of online shopping. Retailers who accommodate the instinct to socialize in their store designs will fare much better than those who don’t.

Jenn McMillen

Squad shopping is trendy goodness, but can it scale? Invest wisely, retailers.

Katie Thomas

I’m well aware that Gen Z is the digitally native generation and that shopping is often a pastime of younger folks, but I can’t help but wonder if we are over-simplifying the consumer cohorts here that would enjoy squad shopping. Young people also have less disposable income and less attention span. Casting a wider “demographic” net could show the real power of this platform!

Elysa Kahn

Definitely! While Squad shopping may seem more relevant for the younger demographic, human interactions (friends and family) are the main driver of purchase decisions across all cohorts and categories from apparel to tech to pets. Therefore casting Gen Z is only the entry point to introduce this new shopping behavior!

Venky Ramesh

Squad shopping is a great way through which retailers can engage their customers in the same way they are used to shopping IRL — in a fun and engaging way. And what’s more, social shopping is also known to drive higher impulse purchases!

"Squad shopping is real and is here to stay. Humans crave connection and squad shopping is not only social but also provides validation to the shopper."

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