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New social co-shopping experience aims to allow you to buy products with anyone, anywhere

A popular saying in the U.S. says that people don’t like to be sold but they love to buy. I am not sure if Groupon smashed or proved this theory, but they certainly popularized the concept of group buying and further validated the different paths to further potential social commerce.

Expected to grow by 93% per year, the social commerce market is on track to become a $14B industry by 2015 in the US, and $16B in the rest of the world — says Forrester Research (see more by checking out this report by ‘Booz & Co’ firm or a summary here).

Williing, is the first social commerce site launched out of Chile. They have recently raised a round of funding ($75,000 USD) from InnovoCORFO, Chile’s leading economic development agency and 2 weeks ago they opened their site up for public beta (for the US market). And in the next 2 weeks, they will launch in Chile.

Williing reminds me of GDGT (founded in July 2009 by Ryan Block and Peter Rojas) and in some way, Williing is the result of what you would get if you make a mashup between GDGT and Groupon.

Co-founded by Gabriela Sanchez and Francisco Berroeta, Willing is hoping to merge the collective power of Groupon with the 21st century experience of ‘going to the mall’ with your friends. And their bundled platform provides a backend management system for e-tailers to manage group deals so that everyone can join in the fun.

Bidding Disruption Mode On

Imagine you are a hacker and are always following the latest trends in technology and purchasing the latest gadgets. You discuss features in your favorite developers forums and on the social networks with your friends. You are one of the people who get to participate in the invitation only beta group. So you start commenting on the high profile tech blogs and sharing ideas for the design and development team. You and all your friends talk about all the mods you are going to make once you get your hands on one of these puppies.

The product is expected to release soon and you want to buy one, but after reading more you decide you want to see what the initial reaction is by the early, early adopters and make sure all the bugs are worked out. The product is finally released and has been out about a month or so, and you decide to stop by a local store and see it in person. You love it but decide to wait to see if it goes on sale or you can purchase one through an auction. As it turns out you find one in almost new condition, there are only a few bidders and the current bidding price is within your range. You have the highest bid and you can just see that baby in your hands and then in the last 5 seconds someone outbids you and wins the auction! Frickin’ bastard, jejeje.


So this is the real deal….

With Willing and leveraging the power of social buying – you and your best friends and your Facebook friends and your Twitter followers and your hacker friends from the forums who are all interested in this product can create a group and make a collective purchase of that product. And in theory, sort of like Groupon, the larger the group the more leverage you would have in terms of discounted pricing.

Willing’s co-founders have worked together for 3 years and bring a lot of experience in marketing, shoppers behavior and CRM. Also one of the founders worked in one of the biggest retail stores of Chile, helping and advising the e-commerce department.

According to the founders, Williing was created with one goal in mind, to deliver the best online social shopping experience.


Shoppers and Sellers Unite

The Willing solution is two fold.

First, they developed a social marketplace to help shoppers connect with each other, share their product experiences and also join in group purchases to save money in the different products they like.

Second, they offer a self service tool for online sellers that facilitates the listing of group deals.


The World According to Williing

For Shoppers…

  • In just 1 click, you can find people who have what you want
  • Get and give feedback about your purchases
  • Know what your friends are buying
  • And join them to get group discounts!

For e-tailers….

  • Keep in touch with your loyal shoppers.
  • Learn from your shoppers needs.
  • Sell your products with bulk discounts.
  • Improve your Brand Awareness.
  • Save money by listing a lot of products at once.
  • Benefit from your shoppers “word of mouth”