Social media has made word-of-mouth advertising much more prominent and far-reaching than it has ever been. And, it’s not news that word-of-mouth is one of the most effective forms of advertising, an old adage that’s only become more powerful thanks to social media, which enables consumers to instantly share their opinions with hundreds or thousands of connections.
The same holds true for the idea that a happy customer tells a friend, but an unhappy customer tells everyone. But that’s another story.
Shopcade gives shoppers the opportunity to share those magical, can’t-live-without products with their networks of friends, family, business contacts – and yes, even a few former high school classmates.
Shopcade: The Newest Kid on the Social Media Block
Think of Shopcade as the gender-neutral, retail version of Pinterest. Users can quickly and easily create themed boards to showcase their favorite products from a variety of e-retailers.
Nearly 260 million products are on Shopcade. That's a pretty impressive feat for a startup still in beta mode.
Brand loyalists and consumer advocates are encouraged to share their finds with their social networks. These social recommendations are working. In fact, recent data is putting Shopcade ahead of the curve with 7 percent of Facebook likes converting to sales.
Shopcade Cuts Through the Clutter
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of Shopcade is the ability for consumers to shop through the clutter of the web.
Many shoppers are bombarded and overwhelmed with offers but aren’t confident in merchants or even the product itself. On Shopcade, however, users can quickly identify sales and deals, while also seeing which members of their networks have acknowledged or recommended the product.
Users can also follow specific product categories, brands, and other users to totally personalize their Shopcade feed.
Shopcade even has an entire tab dedicated to deals, showing not only the sale price but the special offer. For example, Apple was offering a 2nd generation IPod Touch for just under $118, a 21 percent discount off its regular retail price.
Shopcaders can also see comments posted to products from actual customers from around the world, getting real time reviews, both good and bad, to get a better feel for its worth.
Rewards Programs Encourage Shopping Through User Incentives
Additionally, Shopcade activity is bolstered through a unique rewards program with points accumulating for various actions on the site, which can be redeemed for vouchers or site upgrades. For example, a Shopcade user can earn 100 additional points by having someone join the network via a personal invitation.
Though some skeptics believe Shopcade promotes social spam through these incentives, the company actually only awards points for designated Shopcade actions. Meaning, a Shopcader won’t receive points simply for hitting the Facebook Like button over and over again in hopes of gaining enough points to receive exclusive offers.
Additionally, users will earn cash for shopping. Anytime a product is purchased via Shopcade, users will receive a predetermined amount (which is shown to the user prior to the purchase).
If a product is purchased via another person’s Shopcade account, that person will also receive the same amount.
Shopcade can do this because user actions generate affiliate links, enabling them to give back a portion of their sales to their customers.
Outside the Shopcade Box
Users of Shopcade have gone outside the box in their use of the newest social platform.
Many are creating virtual shopping carts of wish-list items, making it easier for family and friends to buy the perfect present.
Others are forgoing the traditional wedding registry and starting a Shopcade to aggregate a list of products from several retailers, saving them not only time and energy in the bridal-registry process, but creating one-stop shopping for their guests.
Some users are simply having fun with the site, expressing their individualities and interests.
A moose aficionado has created a Shopcade dedicated wholly to moose, while Hello Kitty has several Shopcades dedicated solely to the popular product line.
Shopcade Blog Turns Users Into Advocates
Shopcade is working to turn the average user into Shopcade advocates. The Shopcade blog, which is updated regularly with sweepstakes and special offers, includes features on Shopcade trendsetters.
Titled “Who the Shopcade are You?” these mini interviews gain a little insight into the top users and celebrity fans.
Additionally, the Shopcade blog will help keep users up to date with any of the platforms upcoming changes as they continue to work out any bug and add features to their existing platform.
Shopcade for Merchants
Users can't add their own products to Shopcade. Businesses looking to drive traffic must apply to become an affiliate partner before their products are added to the site’s catalog. It functions as another channel to market products, but allows merchants to capitalize on their social networks like never before to spread the word.
Not only does a Shopcade presence help boost sales, but the exposure can bolster other social stats like Facebook likes and Twitter followers; when consumers see products recommended by their friends and contacts, they’re more likely to start following the merchant on Facebook or Twitter.
Merchants aren’t charged to join the program. Like most affiliate networks, Shopcade only collects a fee when a sale is made.
The setup process also appears straightforward; merchants simply accept Shopcade as an affiliate via their usual affiliation platform, then supply Shopcade with a product feed.
Business Insider calls Shopcade, “Pinterest for commerce.” But will Shopcade turn average users into addicts like Pinterest has done? Time will tell.
Shopcade is already earning recognition as an up-and-comer on the social scene. If consumers continue to adopt Shopcade as the latest social shopping craze, experts predict that the platform could be worth billions of dollars if the company plays its cards right.