I've never been one of those people that considers shopping "fun". I shop because it's necessary, because I need something. If gamification has taught us anything though, it's that all it might take for something to become fun and interesting is to make it a game.
In this case, a start-up called Little Black Bag launched a service that puts a twist on the Japanese idea of fukubukuro. Fukubukuro is a custom where merchants sell fun-bags that contain the prior year's clothes and shoes — at a steep discount. It's not uncommon for people to trade too.
Little Black Bag is like that, only you know what's in your bag. When you sign up, you can save your preferred brands as well as take a quiz that determines your personality. You then pay a flat fee for your 'fun bag', and the items you get you are free to trade. Wired reports that this set-up makes the service more like a game than anything else.
Little Black Bag is not your typical flash-sale e-commerce site. It's part online community, part online store. Murillo likens Little Black Bag to a "massively multiplayer online shop," with more similarities to Farmville than discount e-retailers Gilt or Rue La La.
Unsurprisingly, players shoppers will aim for items that they know will trade well, even if they don't actually want them. And, like you might expect with a game of this sort, there's badges to earn and other such social elements.
Granted, as interesting as this is to me, Little Black Bag doesn't really feature the type of stuff I'd buy. But I could see myself participating if this idea expanded to other types of digital storefronts. Steam lets you do something similar, and that's really sweet.