For a while now, social shopping has been heating up as the Next Big Thing on Facebook. I’ve written recently about Amazon’s implementation of Facebook Connect, the launch of two new products from FatWallet, and even the fact that social shopping apps both won and placed in the recent Facebook Hackathon in Palo Alto.
Just to prove my point, here are some details of two other social shopping apps that recently entered the fray.
San Francisco-based startup Storenvy is a marketplace of independently owned stores. You can open an online store for free and the Storenvy Facebook application lets you put it on your Facebook Page. You can see the Storenvy Facebook tab in operation here.
Unlike other store builders, all of the stores are connected through the Storenvy social shopping marketplace. Any product you add to your online store gets added to the Storenvy.com marketplace and may appear on the site’s homepage. This lets people shop and search across all the stores at once. The new version will let Storenvy users determine what goes on the home page – described as “Digg for cool stuff to buy”.
Storenvy chief executive Jon Crawford told AllFacebook.com the site allowed shoppers to discover cool stuff across the thousands of stores, favorite things, comment, see what their friends like and more. “The social shopping experience is where we are putting our product development efforts right now, so there will be lots more here soon,” he said.
Store owners can customize their stores to their heart’s content with full HTML and CSS control. It’s completely free, except for PayPal fees; the Storenvy developers plan to operate a ‘freemium’ model where the basic version is free and they sell services and extra features on top of it.
Meanwhile, online marketplace Addoway has started rewarding shoppers for sharing deals with their friends on social networks such as Facebook.
Addoway has created a virtual currency called “Addo Bucks” that shoppers can earn after sharing deals with friends. They can cash those Addo Bucks in for discounts on merchandise sold on Addoway, redeem them for free gift cards from popular retailers like Starbucks and Best Buy, or use them to enter limited-entry private giveaways of prizes like an Apple iPad or Nintendo Wii.
Addoway chief executive Fredrick Nijm said: “On Addoway, we have discovered that shoppers referred from social networks are eight times more likely to make a purchase than those that come from comparison shopping engines, so it only makes sense to give our merchants more and more ways to reward shoppers for sharing their positive experiences with their friends.”
He added: “Other rewards programs have been focused around giving away stuff in exchange for spamming friends. We’re not about that at all. Our system encourages sharing authentic, positive experiences, which is what Facebook has been built on.”
Addoway only rewards shoppers for sharing when their friends have some level of interaction with Addoway, not merely for sharing links.
The company has also made upgrades to its platform to help merchants build their Facebook fan base, by allowing merchants to reward shoppers with exclusive discounts and other deals only available to fans of their pages. Shoppers can ‘like’ the merchants’ Facebook pages directly from within the Addoway platform.
Addoway launched in public beta in April, and to date has had over 100,000 products listed for sale by merchants on its platform.