I can’t think of many companies that would announce a new product launch on a Friday night. After all, you miss most of the major news cycles, the financial markets are shut down and people generally have the weekend on their mind.
But Zappos.com is not like most other companies. So it came as no surprise to see Tony Hseih, CEO of Zappos.com, posting on Twitter about the beta launch of their new Zappos Social Shopping Site – My.Zappos.com – late on a Friday night.
But what exactly is Social Shopping? According to Wikipedia:
Social shopping is a method of e-commerce …in which consumers shop in a social networking environment. Using the wisdom of crowds, users communicate and aggregate information about products, prices, and deals. Many sites allow users to create custom shopping lists and share them with friends.
I spent some time playing around with the site today and it is pretty straightforward.
Building Your Network: After a simple registration, a few Zappos Groups are recommended to follow such as Zappos Golf, Zappos Beauty, etc. This is a smart move by Zappos because it builds community right off the bat. After that, you go to the home page where you can find more people to follow, including people from your Twitter or Facebook network. In less than 5 minutes, the Social Part of Social Shopping is in place.
Starting to Shop: The next step is to start adding stuff to your closet. As the site states “At My.Zappos you can add items you have, want, or just plain like. Once you add an item, your friends can tell you what they think and even suggest new stuff for you!” This is accomplished through a simple bar that runs at the top of the Zappos site with a simple button that says “Add Item to Your Closet.”
Making Shopping Social: Once you have added an item, the social part takes over. For me, I need to get a new weekend watch. So i put an item in my basket on My.Zappos.com and added a comment asking my friends to give me their opinion. I was even able to click to send the comment to my friends on Twitter and Facebook asking their opinion as well.
After my short experiment, I can say that this is a great move by Zappos and one that will really resonate with their consumers. For the industry, the launch of My Zappos brings a big, new player to a space of eCommerce that previously included Social Shopping sites like Kaboodle, Woot and ILikeTotallyLoveIt.com. Personally I think it just might be what drives Social Shopping mainstream, causing it to be as much part of the eCommerce landscape as Ratings / Reviews or “Items You Might Like.” Well done Zappos, well done.