Shopping together, online: Into a closet vs. real-time

So, Zappos has begun to test its "My Zappos" social shopping service, first alluded to here in June.You can put shoes, clothes and accessories into your personal closet, online.

So, Zappos has begun to test its "My Zappos" social shopping service, first alluded to here in June.

You can put shoes, clothes and accessories into your personal closet, online. You can blog about it. You can share your choices with friends, via Twitter and Facebook. And get feedback, as you try to make a decision.

You can also post personal photos, making the whole closet more like a personal locker of ideas and images, not just your shopping druthers.

Or you could just shop together in real-time, using the sharing functions of a company called DecisionStep.

On the Charlotte Russe site for women's shoes and fashion, you can immediately share what you’re looking at with one or more friends using the Share Item or ShopTogether options on the toolbar at bottom of the screen. You can talk in a chat window with friends while you're at it.

And if you’re not sure what you should be interested in, you can see pretty quickly what others are looking at, by looking under Style Tips at the bottom of the page and choosing Watch Others.

This is like the Zappos map. And, yes, Zappos may the online retailer that tends to set the standard in its use of social media (see “Following Zappos” case study).

But if you’re just about to make a purchase, do you want to put it in your closet and wait to see what feedback you get?

Or do you want your friends to weigh in right away?

Or not at all?

Don’t worry. These features won’t go away. Expect, over time, that all shopping sites will have closets with social communication built-in. And real-time chat on product images, specs and more, as well.

Welcome to Shopping 3.0. If you can't make up your mind on your own, the barriers are being taken down.

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