The power of groups, the clout that crowds can exercise to get what they want, is nothing new. What is new, however, is the dizzying ease with which like minded, action-ready citizens and consumers can now go online and connect, group and ultimately exert influence on a global scale.
Welcome to the world of 'CROWDShopping'.
Tuangou.es is a collective buying website in Spain. Tuangou essentially means (in Chinese of course!) 'tuan' -group and 'gou' - buy. Tuan gou ( teambuying in chinese) emerged from china in online chat-rooms,and graduated to more organised websites. Popular Chinese sites that are enabling crowds to first group online and then plan for real world shopmobbing are TeamBuy, Taobao and Liba.
A fun example of consumers aggregating their intended purchases to get a bargain is tuangou, or team buying, which involves strangers organizing themselves around a specific product or service. Think electronics, home furnishings, cars and so on. These likeminded consumers then meet up in real-world shops and showrooms at a coordinated date and time, literally mobbing the seller and negotiating a group discount on the spot.
Today only 1.3 billion people have access to internet. While the penetration is 80% + in countries such as US and UK...the figures are on lower side in China( 15-18%) ,India (20%),and Africa( less than 10%) . Imagine the impact (buying power) when the penetration in these countries go up to 50% levels.
Whatsay! - will Mobile phone ( 3 bn people in 2008) be the next converging(read aggregating) device?
To the marketers, the internet phenomenon offers both an opportunity and a challenge.Clearly no manufacturer can afford not to have a presence on the net.Presence on the net is required to inform,advertise and encourage the user feedback on products. It is not limited to just that Companies are already using the net to encourage user contribution to the development of the branch, its communication and product portfolio. (read my post on Open Innovation)
The opportunities offered by the net are only limited by our imagination.