Over the past several months there have been a number of stories about how retailers and brands are shuttering their Facebook stores because no one was paying attention. The outlook would thus appear to be dimming for so-called “F-commerce.”
However earlier this week shopping site TheFind launched a social shopping app (soon to be an iPad app too) called Glimpse. It may yet prove to be a model of sorts for commerce on Facebook and social commerce more generally.
Some have argued it takes its inspiration from (or copies) Pinterest and seeks to be its rival. It’s Pinterest-like in certain respects: it’s about social discovery and very visual. However, what’s more interesting to consider are the lessons it may hold for F-commerce.
TheFind has worked closely with Facebook and the Open Graph to incorporate Like data from across the internet. The app matches products in TheFind’s database with user Likes. The result is a virtual “store window” with brands and products Liked by you and your network.
TheFind says the experience is personalized “based on what you have Liked before, sorted by popularity and the latest trends. We include products, stores and brands in the experience and you can shop right from here.”
Users’ Facebook Timelines and newsfeeds will reflect their interactions with Glimpse. If you click on a product image that will show up in your Timeline for everyone to see. However you can hide or delete “Glimpses” so they’re not visible to everyone. Users can also create “catalogs,” which are collections of products — this is very Pinteresty. Those can be shared with friends.
There’s a section called “Trendsetters’ Likes,” which are visible to everyone and include picks from brands and fashion bloggers that TheFind works with. This is where ads/or sponsored “trends” could easily appear in the future.
Any product can be clicked on, which takes users to the retailer’s site to buy the product.
This is probably the social shopping experience that Facebook should have itself created for retailers and brands. However Facebook didn’t have the product data to build this. We’ll see how visible and successful Glimpse becomes on Facebook — and what Facebook’s reaction might be if it becomes a hit. Facebook will ultimately come under pressure to make (more) money from e-commerce.
It seems to me this general experience — already validated to some degree by Pinterest — is the model for “social shopping” on Facebook or through Facebook. However, beyond Facebook, as I mentioned, Glimpse will soon have its own iPad app. And some of the social capabilities of the Glimpse app will also make their way back to TheFind’s main site.
TheFind says that while Glimpse only works with Facebook today, “The technology powering Glimpse, however, allows easy assimilations of other social signals such as Tweets, Pins and +1s, which we might add in the future.”