Wal-Mart’s social shopping app

Last week I blogged about how e-tailers can improve their conversions and sales using data from Facebook and other social media sites.  I also made the point that e-tailers will look for innovations that encourage us to link our ecommerce accounts with our Facebook accounts via Facebook Connect, so they they can get at our Facebook data.  Simply forcing people to Connect isn’t a good idea as some people will inevitably drop out of the purchase process, hurting sales and profits.

Yesterday Wal-Mart launched a Facebook application called Shopycat which is an example of the sort of innovation I was describing.  Shopycat makes product recommendations based on the items people have liked or talked about in their newsfeed.  I installed the app and it tells me that my old school friend would like an alarm clock ipod speaker dock combination, which is pretty apt as I remember he struggled with getting up at university so much that he used to set six different alarm clocks to go off in the mornings.  Many of the other gifts recommended were pretty apt as well.

I think is pretty clever by Walmart on a number of levels:

  • It promotes engagement with their brand without being overly salesy – the gift items don’t necessarily link back to Wal-Mart’s website
  • It provides a real service – as we live further away from our loved ones these days it is harder to keep up with their interests, ShopyCat makes it easier again
  • It is a short step to get users to link back to the Wal-Mart website, generating the Facebook Connect’s that will help with the objectives described above and in my post last week
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