September 7, 2010, 3:31 PM

TheFind.com adds a social shopping tool

TheFind.com launches a service that enables consumers to see what products their friends like.

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Comparison shopping site TheFind.com has launched a service that enables consumers to see what products have won the approval of friends and other shoppers.

Consumers can log in to TheFind.com using their Facebook usernames and passwords and then opt in to allow TheFind to access the stores and brands the consumer and her Facebook friends have tagged as Likes. TheFind.com’s developers worked with Facebook to design the system.

When the consumer conducts a search, products from brands or stores the consumer or her Facebook friends have indicated they Like appear higher in the search results. When a shopper clicks on an item, the preview product window shows the names and photos of friends in her network that Like the product or brand. The window also displays how many Facebook friends that brand or retailer has on its own Facebook page. The Facebook Like button appears so that the consumer can add herself as a fan of the brand or store.

Aggregating all this information saves time for consumers, says Siva Kumar, co-founder and CEO of TheFind. “You could have gone to all your friends’ pages individually to see who likes a brand or product and then asked them about the experience, but that would be painful,” he says. “Now you can message them and start a conversation about a product like you would have a conversation in the store.”

Featuring the Like button on the preview product window can help a retailer build its own Facebook following, Kumar says. When a consumer clicks on the Like button, that Like goes to the consumer’s Facebook page and the information is distributed to the consumer’s network. The exposure can help retailers by spreading the word about brands and products. “This allows a retailer to collect fans using a shopping site. Prior shopping engines have only passed on clicks, but the Like button helps build relationships between the brand and the shopper. We can send them fans,” Kumar says.  

Kumar says retailers can update their product feeds with their Facebook page information at TheFind’s Merchant Center for no cost. TheFind makes money when a consumer the site sends to a retailer completes a purchase.

Seeing what products have won praise from friends will give shoppers confidence about brands and products, says Julie Bornstein, senior vice president at beauty e-retailer Sephora USA Inc., No. 112 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide.  “It also provides another destination where we can gather new Likes and spread the Sephora network further,” she adds.

The integration of Facebook Likes also helps TheFind personalize shopping. A Shop Like Me tab on the search results page features results from the brands or stores that the consumer Likes on Facebook. “It’s a quick way to shop the 20 stores you Like all at once,” Kumar says.

The social shopping integration with Facebook’s Likes is the company’s first step in developing the social shopping experience online, Kumar says. “Social commerce is really exciting. We see this as the base and we want to get it right, then we’ll roll out more and more.”

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