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Shoppers team up for better deals


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 likeminded, action-ready citizens and consumers can now go online and connect, group and ultimately exert influence on a global scale. Our sister website just published a briefing about crowd clout, and defines the trend as follows: “Online grouping of citizens/consumers for a specific cause, be it political, civic or commercial, aimed at everything from bringing down politicians to forcing suppliers to fork over discounts.” 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. Popular Chinese sites that are enabling crowds to first group online and then plan for real world shopmobbing are TeamBuy, Taobao and Liba. Combined, these sites now boast hundreds of thousands of registered members, making money from ad revenues and/or commissions from suppliers who are happy to have the mobs choose their store over a competitor’s. So who’s going to introduce this concept in San Francisco, Toronto, Sao Paulo, Barcelona or Sydney? The PR value from being the first to do this outside China will be priceless. And may we suggest that the future founders turn it into a hybrid online/offline model, going for maximum reach and visibility? For more business opportunities related to consumers ganging up to get what they want, check out’s briefing. Websites:,,


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