Innovation That Matters

Social shopping | Update


In April, we reported on Stylehive, a collaborative shopping network. Since then, two big new players have entered the arena: Crowdstorm and ThisNext. Crowdstorm is a new way for consumers to find what to buy by measuring the buzz around products. Users recommend products, and the crowd defines the best products by recommending what they know and like. Good products go to the top of the list, weak products disappear: the setup is very much like the popular news website Digg. Buzz is measured by the amount of activity surrounding a product: how many times a product has been viewed, how many bloggers have written about it, and how many Crowdstorm users have commented about it. Users can add other users as friends, either people they already know or those they’ve met on Crowdstorm and whose product recommendations they trust. Future enhancements will let users post their own product images and videos, and top-rated members will also be invited to beta-test new products from big brands. UK-based Crowdstorm was founded by Phil Wilkinson, who also set up online price comparison sites ShopGenie and Kelkoo, and aims to be one of the internet’s best sources of impartial product information. Another social shopping network to have launched recently is ThisNext. Much hyped, LA-based ThisNext features a slick design and sends visitors down one of three paths: Discover, Recommend and Shopcast. The discover section lets users browse products recommended by others. Clicking on a item allows them to add it to their wishlist, recommend it, or find out where to buy the product. Users can recommend products by creating themed lists (from ‘Japanese Snacks’ to ‘Things I Cannot Do Without’), or simply by clicking on an easy to install ‘Add to ThisNext’ browser button. Appealing to the blogging crowd, ThisNext’s standout feature is shopcasting: bloggers can create small banners for their website. These so-called shopcast badges either display their own recommendations or those of the ThisNext community, broadcasting the products they love or must have. The combination of consuming, curating and creating buzz is hot, as witnessed by the arrival of not only Stylehive, Crowdstorm and ThisNext, but also others like Wists, ShopWiki and Kaboodle. Most are very US-centric. Time to launch local versions and find out who will lead the pack!




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