Thursday, March 26, 2009

Retailers Add Social Media Capabilities to Shopping Sites

A recent eMarketer report revealed the site features and functions retailers planned to add to their sites. A variety of social media functions made the list, including plans to build communities, add customer ratings and reviews, and even blogs. The most popular social media function on the retailers' list, however, was personalized product recommendations.

Peer recommendations are common on social shopping sites, such as Polyvore and StyleHop. Says senior eMarketer analyst Jeffrey Grau:"There are situations where peer recommendations provide more meaningful results. Take for example a woman who has just moved to Manhattan and needs help choosing and purchasing appropriate business attire. An automated recommendation system would be challenged to find suitable suggestions based on her historical shopping data. A better source of apparel advice would be other professionals working in New York.”

And the benefits of peer recommendations are not limited to customers.
“Retailers like personalized product recommendations because they create cross-sell and upsell opportunities,” says Mr. Grau. “They also cite long-term benefits such as a higher degree of customer engagement and loyalty.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Cradle: Hip Pregnancy Site

The Cradle is both a community and resource for women who are trying to conceive, pregnant, or recently had a baby. The site is filled with expert advice, useful tools and features, and an active community where women can discuss anything from epidurals to celeb baby gossip.

Although there are many sites who focus on pregnant and new moms, The Cradle is unique in its modern, straightforward approach. The articles provided useful and interesting information that isn't found on other sites, with information on embarrassing pregnancy side effects and advice for how to improve intimacy with a bun in the oven.

The community and other features are equally as engaging. The Cradle offers a Birthday Calculator, where users can calculate the ideal "do it date" to obtain a certain "due date." Women can also create their own pregnancy web page to keep family and friends up to date.

Monday, March 16, 2009

BurdaStyle: Virtual Sewing Circle

BurdaStyle, an online sewing community, makes sewing fun (and easy.) The site offers hundreds of copyright-free patterns, from cocktail dresses to bras. The patterns range from traditional to trendy, and budding designers can showcase their creations, as well as search for inspiration. The BurdaStyle blog features member interviews, style tips, and even suggested patterns that coincide with current fashion trends.

BurdaStyle is not just for experts, however. Beginners can find a weath of information to get them started. The site features a "How Tos" section with both photos and videos, as well as a user-generated sewing encyclopedia. Users can also view patterns by level of difficulty, making BurdaStyle the perfect destination for all sewers.