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    Creative Commons, Cabbit (2009) ©

Bowling online: making e-tail more social

Social shopping services recreate a sense of community between shoppers, restoring the high touch value of physical retail to the e-tail experience.

Location Global

Robert Putnam’s book of this name described the disintegration of institutions (like bowling leagues) that connect people to their families, friends and neighbours (1). By this token, shopping is a lot like bowling in a league. In contrast, e-commerce is a lot like bowling alone. Stripped of its social aspects, pointing and clicking becomes mere inventory replenishment.

Throughout history marketplaces, bazaars, festival grounds, high streets, and yes, even suburban shopping malls have been centers of human contact and community.  In contrast, e-commerce is inherently isolating:  it takes us away ...