Buy.com has acquired DecisionStep, maker of social-shopping application ShopTogether which provides real-time, social interaction to shoppers so they can be part of each other’s web experience and decision-making process. With this acquisition, Buy.com is now allowing its users sign in with their Facebook credentials and invite their friends from the social network to join the online shopping experience. This would give the users of Buy.com a real-time sharing and recommending experience.
The press release states:Buy.com, The Internet Superstore™, today announced the ShopTogether® Community, a first-of-its-kind platform that allows shoppers to “virtually” share shopping experiences in real-time, make recommendations, and chat via e-mail, instant messenger (IM) or Facebook® Connect about product features with friends and family.
The speciality of DecisionStep is that it allows users to make recommendations, chat about products and share what they’ve purchased with friends and family online. Other than the instant messaging system provided by the site, users can get connected to each other and share their experiences of online shopping through Facebook, Twitter and other social networking websites. After the acquisition, DecisionStep will continue providing the real time shopping experience to users, but under the Buy.com banner.
The features which ShopTogether will provide includes:
-Instant chat sessions with friends who are shopping on Buy.com and logged in through Facebook Connect
-Integration with Twitter and other social networks
-Simultaneous product browsing
-Ability for shoppers to redirect a friend, with permission, to the page he/she is viewing
-Real-time viewing of the most popular items on Buy.com
-Private chat sessions with Buy.com Customer Service support
The strategy that DecisionStep follows, is effective as people want to spend time with their friends and family while shopping and recommend the products they like and buy. The browsing of products, redirecting to friends and social networking integration, all contribute to differentiate DecisionStep as a distinguished online retailer. After the acquisition, Buy.com announced that early beta testing show that consumers spend more time in the site at the time of shopping with their friends, than shopping alone.
Neel Grover, CEO of Buy.com has considered ShopTogether as an integral asset of Buy.com and said that the company is thinking of capitalising on the real time shopping platform. Since ShopTogether offers social networking integration facilities, after connecting through Facebook, users will see a toolbar on the right side of the screen that’ll show them which of their friends are online. After clicking on a particular friend’s photo, a Facebook share window comes up with the message:Click here to shop with me on Buy.com – You can shop with your friends just like you’re in the store together! Get a second opinion or just have fun shopping with your friends on Buy.com. Log into Facebook on Buy-com to see which friends are online now.
After successful experimentation with group buying, interactive and real time shopping applications is the notch and Buy.com seems to get a hang of that. “Integrating social connection on Buy.com makes online shopping more engaging and fun, and we believe it will ultimately drive increased loyalty,” said Grover. Previously, DecisionStep’s headquarters was in Maryland. But now the company will relocate themselves to Buy.com’s Aliso Viejo campus.