Fancy, a Pinterst rival?
I think so.
What is it?
A social discovery site allowing users to find great and interesting things and organize them into categories to share with others.
In their words:
“Fancy is part store, blog, magazine and wishlist. It’s a place to discover great stuff, to curate a collection of things you love, to get updates on your favorite brands and stores and to share your discoveries. When you find something you love somewhere on the web, Fancy it.”
How does it compare to Pinterest?
Fancy and Pinterest are similar in that the networks consist of photos / images of things members discover on various sites they frequent or have the option to upload to the site themselves. The process of adding these photos is quite similar, you ‘Pin It’ or ‘Fancy It’.
There is also the option of integrating both networks onto your main brand site, using the Pin It or Fancy button. Users can simply Pin or Fancy any of the items on their main site, with option to then share this with their friends on Facebook or Twitter.
Pinterest has been around longer, and it clearly outnumbers Fancy in unique visits and users. As a result, it seems Fancy has not been getting the same press or mainstream acknowledgement it deserves. Although I am a big fan (and user) of Pinterest, there is room for another social discovery site, and here’s why….
Direct vs. indirect ecommerce
According to comScore, Fancy has grown 252% since comScore first measured the network back in August 2011. While one cannot deny this dramatic growth it still pales in comparison to the 3000% growth of Pinterest in the same time frame.
With the news from Shareaholic that Pinterest has overtaken Yahoo! as a leading source of online traffic it reinforces its ability to drive (qualified) traffic to a brand’s ecommerce site that could lead to potential sales and additional ad revenue as a result of the extra traffic.
In addition, the boards created by users and the pins added, liked and re-pined have brands excited and paying attention as these actions could represent purchase intent – revenue driven by social networks.
Brands are exploring creative ways to be present on Pinterest, showcasing products and services through story telling, humanizing the brand – all of which, will definitely impact a brand’s ecommerce sales positively.
Then, there’s Zappos, a brand that has truly understood what social shopping means. The prime example of this is the recent site, PinPointing, developed for its users, showcasing recommendations to its online visitors based on a Pinterest user’s pins (own or someone else’s) or based on featured pinners.
Enter Fancy, the social discovery site that takes the experience of finding, liking and sharing the things you find – similar to the experience on Pinterest – to the next level… enabling users to purchase the items they have fancied straight from its site.
So, how does this differ from Facebook’s attempt with F-Commerce? For starters, you are able to purchase using a personal credit card (though would like to see PayPal integrated at some point.) Also, what Facebook lacked was the social shopping experience that comes with Fancy (and Pinterest.) Enabling an experience that involves discovery, interactions with other users and building relationships (with other users and brands.)
That said, it will be interesting to see how Facebook Connections works out for users and brands. Facebook Connections will enable users to collect, want, and buy items pictured – the latter, by linking to the brand’s ecommerce site. Hmmm, sounds a lot like a cross between Pinterest and Fancy.
A social network with a defined business model
With ecommerce integrated directly into its site, and it apparently receiving a percentage of every sale made on the platform, Fancy may have found the business model that other social networks are still trying to nail down.
Fancy allows users to buy what they see in the picture, directly from its site, If not the exact picture, something very similar.
Fancy highlights you should know
In addition to Fancy being a social ecommerce platform where you can add things you fancy to existing categories or create your own, you can browse categories, shop deals, sales, brands and stores. And there’s more…
Fancy Deals – Feels a little like GetGlue where you can unlock deals when you fancy things you love and receive special rewards – usually a pincode that you can redeem at checkout.
American Express, a brand that is no stranger to social media, Foursquare Check-in, Facebook Offers and now Fancy Deals. For the latter, users can sync their AMEX card to unlock a reward that can be used towards your next purchase on thefancy.com.
Fancy Box – I only recently subscribed to this service and excited to see what my first package will consist of. Fancy Box, is a monthly subscription service – $30 / month – featuring a collection of some of the most fancy’d items and valued at $60+. Each box received includes products in the categories of your choice, mine: Women’s, Gadgets and Media. Can’t wait!
Gift Recommendations – The perfect service for people who may not know what to buy that special someone and would welcome any assistance they can get. Just ask the Fancy experts. Simply fill out the online form with as much details as you can provide so that the team can help you find that perfect gift. You will then receive an email with gift ideas that you can purchase directly from thefancy.com. Brilliant!
Of course I had to test this service out, to see what kinds of recommendations I would receive. Let’s just say I was quite pleased with what they came back with – see image below for the recommendation I received. This is definitely the perfect gift for my fiancé who loves superheroes, and Batman being one of his favorites.
Are online retailers becoming less relevant?
Perhaps. Both Pinterest and Fancy make the social shopping experience possible, with Fancy closing the loop by allowing these shoppers / users to purchase directly from its site. I do hope Fancy continues to grow and more brands begin realizing its ecommerce potential.
Regardless, both Fancy and Pinterest continue to be on my top list of social discovery sites.
Di Gallo is the Director, Social Media Partnerships at Rogers and a contributor to the Social Media Week Global Editorial Team based in Canada. The opinions expressed here are her own. Follow her on twitter @digallo. Learn more about her at about.me/digallo.