Archive for the ‘product discovery’ tag
The startup’s flash-sale shopping experience is now available on iOS and Android. The company is also rolling out new Facebook Connect features for social shopping and sharing.
Already, mobile visitors account for a ton of Fab‘s traffic — between 30 and 40 percent. And social activity accounts for around half the site’s incoming traffic.
“We think this new set of mobile social commerce features raises the bar on social product discovery, wherever you are,” said Fab co-founder Jason Goldberg in a post on the company blog. “But it’s just the start. Much, much more to come from Fab in the weeks and months ahead on both mobile and social.”
Of course, as avid Fab followers, we’ll keep you updated on that.
Fab first launched mobile apps last October. At that time, mobile traffic accounted for less than 20 percent of the site’s traffic.
Fab 3.0 on mobile will show recent and popular activity from the people you know. The homescreen will feature algorithmically derived featured products based on real-time activity from Fab members and your network of friends across a few social networks.
And as for Facebook, Goldberg said, “It’s hard to believe that we hit 5.5 million members … without ever before implementing Facebook Connect. Crazy, but true. So, starting today, joining or logging into Fab is finally as easy as just hitting the Facebook Connect button — on the web and via mobile.”
Here’s a sneak peek at the redesigned apps:
Fab is a New York-based company and was launched in 2010. The startup has taken a grand — and we mean grand — total of $156 million in funding to date.
Image courtesy of Robbi, Shutterstock
Filed under: VentureBeat
Google is looking to help Adwords customers convert better on their websites with the pilot program introduction of ‘Search As You Type‘ functionality for US based advertisers. Here’s a quick video from Google’s Commerce blog
This could be a great boon to any ecommerce site while larger sites can really benefit as this could streamline the product discovery process for site visitors.
The post says
The Search As You Type pilot is available to US-based AdWords advertisers for free, up to 25 million searches annually, after which licensing fees would apply.
Search As You Type uses Google’s predictive suggestions and instant product results to enhance a merchant’s existing website search functionality. When shoppers type a search query into a merchant’s site, Search As You Type shows them product suggestions and photos, making it faster and easier for people to spot the product they’re looking for and click through to make a purchase.
Now before anyone gets too excited it should be emphasized that this is a pilot program. If you want to be considered for inclusion in the pilot program you can fill out a form and hope for the best.
How do you like this kind of functionality for your site or your buying experience?
Join the Marketing Pilgrim Facebook Community
From Fab to Netflix to Amazon, the eCommerce world is starting to warm up to the future of online shopping: Social curation. Call it the “Pinterest-effect,” people are embracing the idea that bookmarking and social sharing slowly are replacing search with regards to product discovery. And this is leaving many investors salivating at the prospect of Pinterest’s eventual revenue model.
Taking this idea one iteration further, Wanelo, like OpenSky and other Pinterest-offshoots, is a site that allows users to bookmark and share their favorite products via a grid layout and high-res imagery. Ostensibly the startup wants to find a quicker path to profitability by focusing only on the curation of things that bring in revenue. Makes sense.
Unlike OpenSky, the startup allows you to follow your Facebook friends in addition to top site users — resulting in a more personalized product feed than that of just celebrity selections. To post an item to Wanelo enter a product URL, tag the item with categories, and add price and other details. Users can browse through Wanelo items by popularity, recency, or by people and stores that they follow.
Site founder Deena Varshavskaya (who is seriously from Siberia) tells me that the most remarkable part of Wanelo is its user engagement, with 1.3 million products from 24,000 different stores posted since its launch in 2010, and over 100,000 products saved daily. The average user spends 16 minutes on the site according to Varshavskaya, and the startup has more than 100K fans on Facebook.
Investors like as First Round Capital’s Josh Kopelman, Naval Ravikant, Floodgate’s Ann Miura-Ko,Forerunner Ventures’ Kirsten Green, Roger Dickey, Aayush Phumbhra, Andy Dunn and other angels made a $2 million dollar bet this week bet that curating products around a social graph will succeed. And Varshavskaya says that Wanelo user engagement is proof that it does.
“Pinterest is a great product and it solves for images,” Varshavskaya tells me, ”It contains products as well, but that’s not their focus, so users don’t go to Pinterest to shop. They go there to collect things like recipes. Wanelo has nothing but products and users know that, so they come to Wanelo to shop. Users on Wanelo have much more purchase intent,” she says, citing user tweets she’s meticulously favorited, like the one below.
By narrowing user sharing activity to just one category (product), you inevitably lose the users who were just visiting your site to upload images of pretty sunsets or flowers, thus sacrificing at least one form of user scale. But Varshavskaya, who rules out affiliate links as a business model (she declined to comment on what Wanelo’s inevitable business model will be), insists that eliminating the noise surrounding social sharing will ultimately be a better business.
“Imagine that you went to Amazon.com and started seeing images mixed in with products you can buy,” she explains, “I don’t think you would like that as a shopper or that it would make a good shopping experience.” Fair enough, but we’ll have to wait until either Pinterest and/or Wanelo come up with a business model and bring in significant revenue in order to truly find out what’s a better strategy.
Like Milo before it, Wishpond launched in late 2010 to build a local search engine that aggregates realtime inventory and product listings from brick and mortar retail stores — from big chains to mom and pop shops. The startup has since focused its efforts on developing social commerce solutions for retailers, launching tools like Social Store, which allows any business to quickly create and deploy a storefront for their businesses on Facebook.
While Wishpond, like so many others, is looking to capitalize on the growing interest in social commerce, its solutions have really been developed as means by which to expand on its core competency: Consumer-facing product aggregation and search for retailers. And today, Wishpond is leveraging its technology for the sake of a segment underserved by eCommerce solutions: Shopping malls, launching Mall360, a service that enables malls and shopping centers to offer their shoppers a browsable, searchable product discovery app that works across their Web, social, and mobile properties
As eCommerce solutions mature, more and more consumers are doing their shopping online, from start to finish. However, while 90 percent of shopping begins online today, the majority of people still prefer to buy products live, in local stores, rather than online. For the most part, shopping malls are still in a past decade when it comes to their approach to eCommerce, even though customers continue to visit their stores when they’re ready to buy.
Mall360 gives shopping malls a way to increase their visibility online in a way that lets them better understand and influence potential customers while they’re in the process of making their purchasing decisions, while they’re searching, talking about products with friends, and planning their next excursion to the mall.
For outlets that may house dozens of brick and mortar retail stores, Mall360 lets visitors search and browse through all the products found at the shopping center through visiting the mall’s Facebook page and clicking on a “Shop Our Stores” button, for example.
To enable this cross-platform service, Wishpond is leveraging RetailConnect, its scalable platform that imports, aggregates and processes large volumes of product data from websites, point of sales systems, and eCommerce platforms. It then uses this data, along with its search and publishing capabilities to enable malls to instantly deploy its product discovery app on their mobile and desktop websites, mobile apps, and Facebook pages.
The goal is to be able to give consumers an easier way to search for and discover products at their favorite local retailers, while in turn, giving retailers the ability to boost social interaction, traffic and both website and social engagement. According to the Wishpond team, malls can choose to deploy some or all of the components of its solution, and over the next few weeks, participating outlets will begin to deploy the solution across their digital properties.
Consumers are increasingly skipping the malls and turning to online shopping for gift purchases. For marketers, even gift-giving presents an opportunity to get to know their consumers and nurture those relationships throughout the year. Observing consumer activity should be second nature for the online retailer. Even the most rudimentary ecommerce systems allow retailers to track what consumers are searching, clicking, and buying. One would naturally assume it would be easy enough to make sense of each consumer’s behavior and use this information to offer quality product recommendations. But you know the old saying about assuming things. One major challenge for retailers is distinguishing between when consumers purchase for themselves and when they purchase gifts. These gift-giving “micro-moments” can easily skew an individual consumer’s profile.
Consumers want online retailers to guide them in the right direction. One of the benefits of shopping online is that it’s easy to discover all of the relevant products and services available. Personalized recommendations make product discovery and purchasing that much easier, getting you in an out of the online store with time to spare. Often, retailers miss the mark and turn off consumers with irrelevant recommendations. This can incite frustration, leading a consumer to think, “This brand doesn’t know me” or “I’m wasting my time here because I’m not finding what I want.” Not only are those retailers missing an opportunity to make a sale or drive a cross-sell or upsell, they are also missing the opportunity to build a lasting relationship with the consumer that will keep them brand-loyal.
The key for marketers is to ingest various types of behavioral data and understand contextually what the consumer’s intent is at a particular moment in time, regardless of the touch-point. For intelligent retailers, this means understanding a number of variables that go into creating an individual’s precise consumer profile.
For example, recently my friend visited the site of a top online retailer and purchased a new wine refrigerator for his wife. He recently complained to me that since his purchase, he continues to receive recommendations for wine refrigerators. And not only that, but the retailer also continues to recommend the same one he already purchased. What are the chances he needs to buy another?
To avoid frustrating consumers and permanently turning them off of your brand, online retailers should consider the following wavelengths of consumer behavior:
Passions: These are long-term bedrock behaviors that don’t change often (for example, brand affinities).
Interests: These are behaviors that change periodically but stay relatively stable (for example, a new hobby or interest).
Intent: These are behaviors in the moment, when the consumer is providing real-time purchase-behavior data, such as clicks and views (for example, if I am on a camera product detail page, you can assume, at that moment in time, I’m looking for a camera. This can be classified as shopper context).
Successful behavioral targeting leverages information collected on an individual, based on their online activity across each of these wavelengths. With the growth of behavioral targeting, before a recommendation is even made, a marketer can determine if the consumer is likely to respond. Clearly, the retailer my friend purchased the wine refrigerator from is not applying each of these wavelengths to its recommendations.
Payvment, a startup that allows anyone to create and operate a retail storefront on Facebook, is debuting a new feature today that allows merchants to monitor key social commerce metrics to help drive sales.
Payvment’s Facebook App, which launched in November of 2009, lets anyone create a retail store on the social network. The app lets you set up products, categories of products (i.e. shoes, T-shirts, sweaters), import photos, list terms of service and shipping options and more. Once you set up your online shop on Facebook, it will show up in a separate tab on your profile or page under “storefront”. The company also offers a virtual shopping mall of all of its storefronts on Facebook.
Basically, Payvment’s Social IQ technology analyzes merchant data and delivers a daily set of customized actions to help sellers who are new to social commerce grow fans, traffic, and sales. Payvment’s Social IQ also makes it easy for sellers to try social commerce campaigns such as running a Twitter promotion or offering a “Like” discount for fans, while being able to measure exactly how those actions improve product discovery and sales.
With a new Social IQ dashboard, merchants will be greeted with a Social IQ “score”, which provides a benchmark of how effectively the seller is promoting their store and generating engagement relative to other Payvment sellers. Social IQ will tally the deals, promotions and polls a seller has run in the past week; show how shoppers engaged based on the social actions, shows the other sellers who are most active and socially engaged and why.
Based on performance data, sellers will be recommended campaigns such as creating and posting a product poll, or running a seasonal promotion. The seller’s Social IQ score climbs in direct correlation to their growth in fans, reactions (Want, Like), conversations, and product sales that are driven by these actions.
While Payvment is trying to help more retailers and businesses sell on Facebook, there has been reports of major retailers jumping off the platform because attempts at social commerce have failed. But founder Christian Taylor explains that there’s just too big of an opportunity for product discovery and engagement on Facebook for big brands to stay away for long.
He explains further that it’s actually not surprising that some of these brands didn’t see initial success, as most of them just cloned their retail websites on Facebook. “For F-commerce to drive real product discovery and sales, retailers must have storefronts and conversational tools that are a part of the social fabric of Facebook. When stores are built for product discovery, for sharing, and for authentic conversations, the results are phenomenal,” he says.
Taylor says that in his observations small retailers and brands have been much more quick to embrace social commerce, and are implementing it much better than large retailers. He thinks its only a matter of time before big retailers figure this out and head back to Facebook for commerce.
We’ve all built up a ton of connections through networks like Facebook and Twitter. Now there’s a way to greedily exchange that social capital for real-world dollars. Shopcade is a new affiliate ecommerce platform where users create a personal store and feature products from a catalog of 40 million item. They can then blast store links to their social networks and earn affiliate kick-backs when their products sell. When used for good, Shopcade helps people structure the shopping recommendations they give friends to aid product discovery, and give to charity. But when used for evil, Shopcade incentivizes social network users to spam their friends.
Facebook has been trying to keep social spammers out. It banned Ad.ly, which connected brands wishing to advertise with celebrities willing to post ads to their fans as status updates. This is because social spam pollutes the user experience at Facebook’s expense. Most people know and loathes someone who uses the news feed to market their small business or promotes events, but most people don’t have anything shill. Paid tweeting services let users earn money for publishing ads, but require tens of thousands of followers to be lucrative.
Shopcade has the potential to give everyone an incentive to spam. Maybe it will help cash-strapped teens avoid crappy summer jobs. But more likely it will degrade the social network experience if it gets popular.
The way the model works is Shopcade aggregates all the affiliate product feeds it can. Users create and customize a personal store and feature products they’d recommend — i.e. that they think their friends will want to buy. When someone buys a product, Shopcade gets an affiliate fee, but then rewards both the store owner and the purchaser by adding a small cash reward to their accounts. Users can cash out through PayPal or by donating their reward to charity. In addition to keeping a portion of the affiliate fees, Shopcade will monetize by selling custom themes and virtual goods that users can display on their stores.
The redeeming property of Shopcade is the product recommendation feed on its home page. When shoppers visit, they’re shown what products their friends are adding to their stores or buying, as well as products based on their own activity and Facebook Likes. These could become a good way to discover relevant products if enough friends are on-board.
From a business standpoint, Shopcade has potential. The 20-person London team was founded by Nathalie Gaveau, who started PriceMinister.com, a French ecommerce site which sold to Rakuten, the French eBay. It also includes an ex-PayPal employee that spearheaded that company’s global expansion. Investors include Ian Livingstone, founder of Eidos Games, and Lord John Birt, Director-General of the BBC.
Unfortunately, from a social good perspective, Shopcade may lower the barrier to affiliate marketing and assist the greedy to exploit the news feed and Twitter stream for low-effort financial gain.
As we reported previously, oBaz, short for online bazaar, lets anyone create their own group of like-minded buyers looking to get a good price on the same product or service. You simply post the item you’d like on oBaz, wait for people to join the group (a minimum of 25 people have to be in a group to haggle for a product), and then let oBaz work its magic. oBaz hagglers will reach out to merchants or manufacturers and leverage the group and their own negotiating expertise to get the best possible deal.
With oBaz Aisles, users join groups based on their product interests (i.e. Parents, Musicians, Chefs, Gamers, Dog Lovers). oBaz experts in these aireas will curate interesting buys, make product recommendations for their respective Aisles and will get deals on these products for oBaz users.
Once in an Aisle, users can participate in daily discussion questions, vote for upcoming products, or purchase exclusive deals. Additionally, users must submit answers to lifestyle questions before being granted access to an Aisle. For example, Photographers may be asked about their favorite lens while Hackers are asked a question using binary code, and Chefs must come up with an impromptu recipe when given three ingredients. oBaz members can join any number of Aisles for free and there’s no limit on the number of Aisles that can be created.
By sourcing unique products, oBaz seeks to bring visibility to lesser-known brands. Recent deals include a high-quality guitar stand for $125 (Retail: $200) and a gaming iPad accessory for $56 (Retail: $99) from relatively unknown manufacturers.
Steven Fruchter and I have been trading emails back and forth discussing his social venture — Get.com. So far, Fruchter has been working with his partner Jake Gold to generate funding and they have succeeded in raising $1 million in seed funding from undisclosed angel investors. Now, Fruchter and Gold are ready to take on the social media world with Get.com.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Finding the product that best fits your specific needs isn’t always an easy feat, not even on the Web. Get.com recently launched as a product discovery service, aiming to make life for potential buyers easier by crowd-sourcing product recommendations from members of its online community. Initially, Get.com will center around Q&A (The Next Web calls it a Quora twist).
From an earlier press release:
When we shop online, we often spend hours searching and reading review after review on Amazon, trying to figure out which is the best product for our requirements. Get.com’s platform will reduce the guesswork for millions of people.
Get.com allows you to post a product question with requirements, such as “What is the best electric toothbrush for sensitive gums under $100?,” and receive a crowd-sourced answer based on the community’s product suggestions and votes.
The fledgling company says it will start raising its Series A in the next few months.