Group Purchasing

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also used are "Group Buying", "Team Purchase" and "Shopmobbing"


"involves strangers organizing themselves around a specific product or service. Think electronics, home furnishings, cars and so on. These like-minded shoppers then meet up in real-world stores and showrooms on a coordinated date and time, literally mobbing the seller, negotiating a group discount on the spot. Popular Chinese sites that are enabling the crowds to first group online, 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 ads and/or commissions from suppliers who are happy to have the mobs choose their store over a competitor's." (


  1. TeamBuy,
  2. Taobao,
  3. Liba,


From Melanie Swan at

"GroupPurchase is the aggregation of multiple buyers for the purpose of commanding a volume discount in a purchase transaction, an idea that is also not new and has been deployed for years in community and vertical purchasing co-operatives. What is new is the scale over which GroupPurchase can now be deployed on the Internet.

There was an early wave of GroupPurchase with Web 1.0 companies: Ariba (focus: spend management) and Commerce One (now Perfect Commerce, focus: Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)), GroupPurchase (focus: small business) and Ctribe and DMob (focus: consumer electronics). Only the enterprise group purchase companies remain currently and have shifted their focus to supplier management but the time is ripe to re-deploy GroupPurchase in the consumer space.

Marc Smith’s Project Aura at Microsoft Research is an indication of the next level of what Affinity Purchasing could be like in the future. Project Aura is a mobile software application for scanning product barcodes and building a database of reviewed products. The basic product information could be mashed-up with trusted affinity attributes including conformity to a diet program, SR ranking, celebrity endorsement and many other user-selected personal affinities.

Urban Logic envisions a similar version of this, the Means Meter, mobile device software that would scan a product and immediately identify its rating on a scale of user-specified values (e.g.; labor-friendly, ISO 14001-compliant factory, degradable materials, etc.). Urban Logic sees the Means Meter fitting into a broader system of SR banks and credit cards with user rebates for Socially Responsible purchases." (

More Information

See related entries on Peer to Peer Exchanges, Affinity Markets, Social Commerce