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Social Shopping Apps Aim to Bridge the F-commerce Gap for Internet Retailers

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For every article that proclaims F-commerce a flop, another seems to point to successes on the part of smaller businesses finding and connecting with consumers who are ready to buy directly through Facebook.

The first generation of F-commerce was established brands simply taking an online store and duplicating it within the Facebook platform. At Glimpse, a new social shopping app by TheFind.com, they see things differently – and that’s the key to the next generation of F-commerce, says Director of Corporate Communications Usher Liebermann.

Glimpse Social Shopping App Bands Together Disparate Data Sets

TheFind believe they have crawled every one of the 500,000 or so e-commerce websites in North America.

“There are about 500 million products for sale and about 100 million (1 in 5) have a Like button next to them. Only about 3 million of those have ever had a Like,” Liebermann told Search Engine Watch. “We see a lot of value in the data of knowing what someone has Liked. Once they give permission, we can see the products they Like, the stores and brands they Like, and the stores, brands and products their friends like.”

This is important, as it fills in the gaps in data collected by Facebook and by retailers themselves, he said. In marrying their crawl data with Facebook’s Open Graph, Glimpse actually has more knowledge of any given product than Facebook does. On the other hand, they can also access more Open Graph data about the buzz around that product, and actually put it to use, than the retailer.

Liebermann describes how Glimpse works: “Say you like a shoe on Nordstrom’s site. Facebook knows you Like a product, but they don't know it's a shoe; only that it is a product and the page it came from. Nordstrom’s know something has been Liked. We have the contextual meta data around it... we actually know more about it than Facebook.”

This allows Glimpse to analyze activity surrounding specific products and make social recommendations to users of the app. “We know the price, color, description - we have all the shopping data around it. We can then sort by the items that and the items that are trending - which is to say they've accumulated a lot of Likes very quickly and have accumulated the most number of Likes the fastest.”

Where Social Shopping Apps Surpass Search

Search isn't a particularly enjoyable way to shop, Liebermann pointed out.

“Search is a task, while discovering what you like is fun – and Glimpse is all about shopping just for fun. Search is a great way to shop if you already know what you want... But if you just want to have a shopping experience, search isn’t great. You can’t tell Google, ‘I want to shop,’” he said.

We’ve seen reports from a variety of sources suggesting that although social shoppers may convert less, they also tend to spend more. We also reported recently that online home goods retailer Wayfair saw a 70 percent increase in the average order value by shoppers referred from Pinterest, compared to non-social referrals like search.

This morning at SES Toronto, Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist Avinash Kaushik reminded marketers to consider all sources and channels when attributing sales. Search and social aren’t in competition with one another, but are two tools meant to be used together in a consumer’s journey from discovery to completing a purchase.


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