The trend-spotting firm PSFK has a series of articles on the Future of Retail. Unfortunately they don't seem to have it organized in a easily accessible way, so the link above is to their retail category. You need to scan down to find the Future of Retail articles.
PSFK always has good content, but I found a couple of the Future of Retail articles focusing on social shopping particularly interesting. Social shopping is a form of social networking where consumers and/or retailers aggregate and share information about products, prices and deals. The two articles are:
- iGroups Could Change Shopping Experiencecovers a patent application by Apple for iGroups, which is for an application "designed for iPhone users to privately share information with others in their groups who happen to be in a very specific location, such as a store, concert or restaurant, or who have similar interests or shopping preferences."
- Limited Sales Inspiring Collective Consumer Action covers another form of social shopping, the formation of consumer collectives and the offering of steep discounts to members. Examples include WhiskeyMilitia, Groupon and GiltMan.
With the rapid growth of social networks and online reviews, social shopping is inevitable. It is also a trend online and off-line retailers need to be aware of.