I have been doing some research into internet shopping and marketing recently, and have been looking at some social networking web apps, and also marketing widgets used by fashion sites and eRetailers.
I found an interesting article on Webaware entitled Shopcasting can flaunt your style but the wardrobes need help which lists many different sites who are getting involved in “shopcasting”. This term “shopcasting” was coined by the ThisNext site, one such site which enables users to publish their favourite items within their own profiles and blogs, functioning as a recommendations network. ThisNext states on their shopcasting page, which is where you make your shopcast widgets that
“Shopping + Broadcasting = Shopcasting.
Like podcasting, shopcasting is broadcasting your great taste to the world, but instead of music or other audio, you’re sharing the products you’ve picked and recommended.”
There are some other sites such as Glimpse.com who have jumped on the FaceBook wagon and have created little applications where users can create “style files” of products they like on the Glimpse site and then post them onto their FaceBook profiles. Glimpse acts as a broker whereby users can mix and match items on Glimpse and then go purchase the items at the various suppliers e-stores via Glimpse. Some titles of some user geenrated style file closets include:
“Donate to the Mandy fund! or buy me these things”, “The reason why I need a rich husband…”, “What to wear when you run into an ex”, and “Just bizarre ugly funny weird stuff I would never wear”
(A NYTimes article on Glimpse.com is here)
http://www.oli.co.uk/ is a site by a UK mail order company who have designed an eCommerce site including an interactive wardrobe where shoppers can drag and drop items from brands including Nike, Levi’s and Warehouse. This can then be shared with friends, who can make recommendations.
Another FaceBook app that enables users to put together looks from any site on the web is Polyvore. It is in effect a virtual wardrobe with drag and drop functionality. It is also a cool little app to make artistic creations and share these with your FaceBook buddies. A comment I read on the faceBook group site noted that this little app is like a video game for girls. I must say I did lose about 5 minutes playing with this app and creating an arty little composition.
I found a great interview with a 10 year old about what sites she liked and didn’t like and why. This brought me to Barbie.com, and the Doll Place which are sites that allows users to dress virtual dolls in outfits and share them with others. The Barbie site also enabled you to create your wish lists from the Barbie catalogue and email them to grandma or mum and dad http://barbie.everythinggirl.com/catalog/ .
I have noticed this making of public wish lists on a few social networking sites. I recently noticed an Amazon wishlist application for FaceBook where you can “shopcast” your wish list to your friends. A perfect solution for getting too many pairs of socks for christmas, and for eretailers, a likely result in online sales. An article on Adweek called “Study Says Web Shoppers Crave ‘Social’ Experience” notes
“…shopping is not always a rational process and online marketers will need to tap into the non-rational, “social” side of shopping to be successful in coming years, according to a new study by technology research firm Gartner”…
“In order to appeal to social shoppers, analyst Ray Valdes, who oversaw the study, recommended sites adopt four characteristics: an extremely simple buying process; a seamless blending of shopping and nonshopping activities; free-form information not controlled by one vendor; and information and links to other vendor locations.”
I have recently had some discussions with my boss who is from New York about the implementation of these sorts of strategies within our Australian sites. It seems that in the US, online shopping is huge and very much a part of the internets users experience. I did source a paper from HitWise entitled “Web 2.0 Retailing – Opportunity for Shopping Websites to Incorporate Social Networking” which asserts that perhaps us Aussies are getting ready for Web 2.0 shopping…
This paper notes that there is an increase in the use of use of social networking sites, where MySpace is the 6th most popular site, and also an increase in the use of online shopping sites which incorporate web 2.0 functionality.
“indicating the sheer pull of social networking amongst Australian Internet users, which retailers could be tapping into….. In 2007, we can expect increased levels of online engagement by Australian users with the rise of consumer generated media. The increasing sophistication of search engines with personalised information and summaries based on commercial intent will make the Internet an increasingly relevant channel for shopping. Retailers in the Australian market need to start incorporating Web 2.0 into their marketing and online distribution strategies.”
This was confirmed to be recently when I heard my aerobics instructor declare the joys of buying and selling shoes on eBay, and receiveing emails from my non-web savy friends with links to bizarre eBay fashion items.
This all being said….I think I would still like to try my jeans on first to know whether my bum look big in this!