August 15, 2012, 1:07 PM

A social shopping provider prompts shoppers to make impulse buys

Payvment launches Lish, a Pinterest-like site to help consumers discover products.  

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Payvment wants shoppers to indulge in impulse buys, like the New Age CD “Best of Kitaro Vol.2”  or a Wiccan turquoise bracelet that comes complete with a protections spell. The social shopping provider aims for consumers to make those types of purchases on Lish, a new Facebook application it launched yesterday.

Lish presents shoppers with a live stream of product images other shoppers are viewing from the roughly 175,000 merchants using Payvment’s social shopping platform. On Lish shoppers can view all the trending items at once or via categories “Lookin Good,” “Tots & Tykes,” “Around the House,” and “Having Fun.”

Shoppers can choose from four buttons  to interact with the items on Lish--a smiley-face, neutral “meh-face” or frown-face emoticon, or a Buy button. An emoticon is a group of keyboard characters that represent an expression or suggest an emotion. When a consumer clicks on a product image he can see comments from other shoppers. Each interaction a consumer makes on Lish is shared on Facebook. Those actions appear in the Facebook ticker, which features updates on what a Facebook user’s friends are doing at that moment on the right-hand side of the screen on the social network. The actions may also appear in aggregated Facebook news feed postings that show, for instance, what items a shopper tags with a smiley face. The news feed is the first page a consumer sees when logging on to Facebook.  

A key to getting consumers to make impulse buys is to minimize the number of clicks it takes for a shopper find and buy an item, says Jim Stoneham, Payvment’s CEO. The first time a shopper visits Lish he is asked to enter his shipping address and pre-authorize a PayPal account, which is how Lish processes payments. After that, when he clicks to buy an item, a one-step process lets him choose the quantity of the item he wants, select his shipping address and then click to check out. The simple checkout process also makes it easier for shoppers on mobile devices to buy, Stoneham says. The Lish conversion rate in early tests is 3.6%, he adds.

Lish replaces Pavyment’s Shopping Mall application that brought together the wares of all of Payvment’s sellers on the social network. In effect, Lish represents Payvment’s attempt to reinvent, or breathe life into, the social commerce experience, Stoneham says. “We want to drive impulse purchases,” he says. “We know you aren’t likely to buy a refrigerator via Facebook, but we think might buy a cool Angry Birds knit hat.”

Lish is similar to retailer-specific offerings from Gilt and Fab.com. Gilt Live allows shoppers to see a live stream of what other consumers are buying. Fab.com’s Feed feature displays hundreds of small boxes that feature product photos and brief notes attached to a time stamp, and labels such as “A Fab user bought I Love NY More Than Ever Print” one minute ago, or “lorikgator faved Wit Don’t Tell Me Tocky Clock” six minutes ago.

Payvment has two revenue streams. It offers enhanced analytics to merchants for a monthly subscription fee and it enables sellers to place Facebook ads via its ad platform.

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