July 3, 2012, 11:04 AM

Wants lead to sales for Sharper Image

The retailer adds a Want button to its product pages and increases conversions.

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If shoppers really want something, they might want to tell their friends about it, Sharper Image has found. And in time they might just go and buy that product.

The online-only retailer last summer worked with social commerce vendor Want Technologies to add a Want button to its product pages. The button appears under the product descriptions, next to a Pinterest Pin button.

When a shopper clicks the Want button, that information is shared on Facebook—if the shopper gives permission to share the information with the social network—as well as on Wanttt.com. Wanttt.com features an aggregated collection of consumers’ Want lists, which include every product a consumer has noted that he Wants.

When a shopper shares what he wants on Facebook, it appears in the news feeds of a portion of his connections on the social network, which is valuable for retailers. The news feed is the first page a consumer sees when logging on to Facebook, but the social network only displays posts it expects the Facebook user will find interesting. Facebook says that, on average, consumers see only 16% of the content their connections post.

Enough consumers are seeing the posts to make a difference, Sharper Image says. “The Want button has not only increased our social footprint, but it also has improved our exposure to like-minded shoppers, and this context is what makes the Want button stand out,” says Sam Grossman, marketing manager of Sharper Image, which sells consumer electronics and gifts.

Sharper Image, like any retailer, has many consumers who browse before making a purchase. No retail site has a 100% conversion rate, which is why e-retailers offer consumers wish lists. Shoppers who create Want lists convert at nearly five times the rate of other shoppers and have a 21% higher average order value than other shoppers, Sharper Image says.

Want offers one way for retailers to feature a Want button on their sites. But it isn’t the only way. Facebook last fall gave any app developers the ability to create Facebook applications that let consumers share their actions, including Want, Own or Love buttons via its Open Graph application programming interfaces, or API. Facebook’s Open Graph allows the social network to gather information about Facebook users, both on the social network itself and from other web sites that tie into Open Graph.

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