Wb-gifMumbai-based social wishlist site Wishberg.com has introduced a new feature called Shop Mob which connects users with similar wishes in a particular city to arrange offline meet ups to enable them buy products in bulk.

The feature is currently live in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Bangalore, however, the company mentions that it will extend the feature to all cities when the number of users from any particular city reaches a threshold number, which varies for every city. Eventually, the company hopes to extend Shop Mobs to all the 225 cities in 15 countries.

How Does It Work? To use Shop Mob, users need to signup on the platform. The company had announced its public beta in November 2012 and allows users to signup on the platform using their Facebook credentials. However, if users do not want to signup using their Facebook credentials, they will need an invitation from existing users.

Shopmob

Following this, Users can create a shop mob of products in various categories like bikes, cars, electronics & gadgets, real estate, bucket list & travel among others, with details such as meetup timing, venue, number of participants allowed and a message about the offer to the participants. We noticed that the platform currently allows meetups to be organized only in business hours (10:00 am to 7:45 pm). Once created, users can share this ShopMob listing on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Monetization

The company says that it does not plan to monetize through ShopMob but instead focus on building engagement between users. However, co-founder Pravin Jadhav informs MediaNama that they might allow brands to start its own shop mobs in the future.

Challenges

We feel that this is quite an interesting concept but also very tricky. Since its launch, Wishberg would’ve collected wish list data from users, which they could show to brands as potential customers. For instance, say 10 users could’ve put up Nokia Lumia 920 in their wish board on the platform, which can be shown to Nokia or any e-commerce retailer who sells phones as potential customers. Following this, these brands can probably conduct a ShopMob in that dedicated area to sell that specific phone and give commission to Wishberg.

This essentially works on a group buying model like Groupon US, but relies on an offline platform. Jadhav said that ShopMobs was inspired by similar initiatives like Cashmob in the US and Tuangou in China. It would interesting to see if Wishberg is able to get continuous traction for these deals.

We also feel that the success of the model would depend on the kind of deals Wishberg or brands will offer. For instance, users might go for an impulse group discounts for low cost products but might not do so for products in travel, and other expensive categories. Further, it is yet to be seen if these ShopMobs will help increase Wishberg’s user base, which in turn will lead to more number of these offline meetups.

Other developments

Last September, Smursh Media had launched a personalized social shopping platform called Klip.in, which allows users to create wishlists and collections, in form of clipboards (or Klipboards as the company likes to call it) as well as connect users with similar interests and wishlists, thereby adding a social layer over the traditional e-commerce model.