The Future of Online Shopping written in blue and white text on a black background

Putting the Humanity Back in e-Commerce

4 min read

If you’re like most consumers in the U.S. or Europe, you’ve been doing a lot more of your shopping online in recent months. With more people spending more time at home, e-commerce has accelerated dramatically, squeezing an estimated six years of growth into just a few months. This was driven mostly by necessity, but it’s also introduced a far wider range of consumers to the convenience and flexibility of e-commerce.

This change, though, has stripped away much of the joy of the shopping experience. Real-life shopping can be a wonderfully social activity, and its loss is something we’ve all felt. Pointing and clicking is fine if you’re stocking up on cleaning supplies, but what about the connection and excitement of browsing a curated retail space with friends? Seeing what catches your eye, asking an expert for recommendations, chatting over a purchase with your partner?

The technology to make digital shopping more social, immersive, and emotionally engaging already exists, but it’s never been brought together in a seamless, accessible way. What if it was? What if you could actually enter a virtual shop of your choosing, and invite your friends to join you in real-time? Introducing: ShopSocial™, our patented e-commerce platform.

The ShopSocial™ concept explores the wide range of possibilities that this kind of experience could offer. Using your existing tablet, smartphone, or laptop, ShopSocial™ invites you into a virtual retail space that’s already familiar, and intuitive to browse.

Create a social experience that drives digital foot traffic.

You’re free to explore on your own, of course, but imagine inviting friends—anyone in your contact list—to come along.

Learn about and connect with customers through real-time interaction.

For merchants, an immersive digital environment offers many of the advantages of in-person retail, like the ability to interact with customers in real time, learn about their habits and what draws their attention, and customize the space and inventory to maximize engagement. Sales associates can be located anywhere in the world, but answer questions and offer advice just as they would on the retail floor. They can also be called up at a moment’s notice—and dismissed just as easily.

Give customers the power to bring friends into the experience.

What may be the biggest advantage of social digital shopping is the ability to bring in anyone, at any time. Want to ask your trainer if you’re getting the right pair of shoes? Give them a call and show them. Not sure what your spouse thinks of putting an exercise bike in the living room? Not only can you call them up, you can show them exactly what it would look like, using a simple, accessible AR placement tool.

Give customers the ability to browse independently, increasing engagement and sales.

You can stroll the space independently, chatting about what you see, and show each other whatever seems interesting.

Bring products into the real world with AR experiences.

For smaller merchants, this kind of social interaction is a chance to push back against the overwhelming advantages that online behemoths like Amazon and Walmart have. By making digital shopping more social, the emphasis shifts from speed and selection back to the shopping experience, helping to level the playing field, and bring in more traffic. And the more information, social contact, and context you bring into that experience, the more confident shoppers are that they’re making the right decision—and the more likely they are to go ahead with the purchase.

The future of online retail doesn’t have to be confusing or overwhelming. In fact, it should be the opposite. We already know what it feels like to enjoy shopping in the real world—ShopSocial™ is how we bring that same joy and connection to the digital one.

Want to know more about ShopSocial™, and Ziba’s innovative approach to e-commerce? Drop us a line at

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