When it comes to shopping and social media, I am a huge advocate of both! Anything to combine my job with something I enjoy – perhaps a little too much – is perfect to me. Shopping brands, bloggers, advocates and friends make their case for a visually stimulating social networking experience to make their products and brand more appealing than the next. Not only has this become a huge phenomenon amongst shopaholics like me, but has become a new route for brands to generate awareness and drive sales. Let me chronicle a few of the quintessential social media shopping apps:
● It’s the 4th largest social network with over 70 million users and over 500K business accounts.
● Profiles consist of boards, which are categorized and named by the user.
● Customized analytics for business accounts.
● Rich pins that include extra information on the pin itself through five types (movie, recipe, article, product and place).
● Integration allows you to “pin” images from a majority of websites.
● Anyone can add a pin; it can be added from a website or uploaded.
● Users can follow an individual (all of his or her boards) or pick and choose which ones to follow.
● There are group boards where multiple people can be invited to contribute.
● Promoted pins are being wheeled out in mid October, which allow business accounts to pay for higher visibility (this function has strict guidelines to prevent spam).
● A help center that will guide you through troubleshooting and specific issues, important with regards to businesses.
Why I love it: Pinterest is amazing for its amount of diverse content. It’s constantly being updated with new pins, but there are also pins that have a second life and come back over time. The part that Pinterest needs some help is that not all products have a click through, which can be frustrating, while some images are great for “inspiration” others lead to dead ends.
● Features over 12 million products offered by 300K stores.
● Each product must link out to an ecommerce site.
● Updated frequently.
● Products feature basic information on the preview before you click out to the website, including price.
● Multiple browsing options.
● The “magic” feed produces options based on items you have saved and liked.
● The feed shows products from brands and individuals you follow.
● Fast browse option where you are shown items one at a time and can either save the product or reject it on the spot. This function also helps improve your magic feed, enabling it to be more tailored to your interests.
● Posts can be made with an individual product, a story of multiple products from one site, or a collection made up of a variety of collections.
Why I love it: Wanelo integrates a variety of businesses from large companies, like Saks and Nordstrom, to individual shops on Etsy, which gives users the browsing experience and authentic feel. The downside is that there is a lot of search functions which can be overwhelming.
● Keep has a universal shopping bag and does not require you to exit the site/app to add items.
● Fully integrated from ecommerce sites.
● Users have three options with a product: like it, “keep” it or save it to your profile or buy it.
● You can also shop by product categories such as home or shoes, or product offers like free shipping.
● Does not feature companies themselves as users; all items are posted by “keepers” such as fashion experts, icons and celebs.
● Runs contests in conjunction with prominent brands.
● Features an as seen on Instagram portion where the top fashion icons’ styles are decoded by Keep employees into products you can buy.
● Add products not featured on Keep and add it to your Keep shopping bag.
Why I love it: The universal shopping bag is the overriding reason why I would use this app over others, in addition, Keep is very fashion oriented rather than just focusing on shopping in general. It features brands and stores I’ve never heard of. One of the downsides to keep is that, while aesthetically pleasing, it isn’t as intuitive as other programs.
When it comes to shopping…
Retailers are embracing their own unique apps when appropriate:
● Flash sale sites like Rue La La and Gilt have become increasingly popular. The immediacy factor that requires you to purchase the item before someone else does and sales that start at specific times throughout the day are unique features, which make it clear that a unique app was appropriate.
● Target has the cartwheel app that helps you better keep track of and use coupons.
● Twitter is increasingly being used to promote coupon codes and flash sales for well-known stores like Shopbop and American Apparel. Twitter’s immediacy factor fits well into this.
The endless virtual department store that Pinterest, Wanelo and Keep now provide push loads of different products at shoppers. Shoppers and credit card companies love this. What is your take? Do you gravitate towards a one-stop shop where you can browse a variety of options or do you head to Nordstrom’s website to browse and make your purchase? Do you enjoy the surprise of new, never-before-seen items, or do you know exactly what you want? With online shopping today, the choice is yours!