I don’t think of shopping as a social experience, unless it’s a day at the mall with my friends. But when I’m online trying to fill a particular need, I’m not all that interested in sharing my choices with those who follow me on Facebook. Apparently, I’m alone in this because Google and Facebook are both working hard to make shopping a big part of their business.
Back in November, Google bought Boutiques.com. This site groups high-ticket fashion items by celebrity then uses a Likes and Dislikes algorithm to determine which tops, dresses and shoes are good for you. There’s an option to follow each of the celeb boutiques and every item has a share button so you can show those sweet $800.00 shoes to your boss on Facebook to explain why you need a raise.
Now, Facebook is coming back strong with their own ecommerce solutions that will allow users to purchase items without ever leaving the site. According to Business Week, Facebook is actively courting several large brand names in hopes of getting them to set up shop inside their fan pages.
Says Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research;
“It’s not natural to go to Facebook to shop—yet. But it’s not a long step.”
Facebook already has a few companies on the line. Delta is already set up to allow you to buy tickets from inside their Facebook page, but JCPenney’s shop and share function goes to an error message so it looks like there are a few bugs in the system.
For smaller companies, Payvment is beta testing a Facebook store app that sets up a storefront in under 15 minutes. They say they’ve timed it and I believe them.
I tested their system as a buyer and it’s very simple to use. I went to the fan page of Game Intern and put a Final Fantasy XIII Fang Play Arts Kai Action Figure in my cart. (Nothing special there.) Then I was prompted with a message that said if I “Liked” the fan page, I’d get a discount. Sure enough, after hitting the like button, I clicked to buy and $2.50 was deducted from the price. Not a huge discount but the fact that I could make it happen that easily was impressive. Of course, the item comes with the usual share buttons so I can show my friends the cool action figure I just bought. Hmm. . . I could get to like this.
Maybe social shopping is a good thing. It certainly makes it easier to rub your friends noses in the fact that you own a $25,000 replica Lost in Space robot and they don’t.
What are your thoughts on social shopping?