Walmart recently launched its first social gifting platform, Shopycat, a Facebook application that suggests gifts for friends based on their Facebook use, according to a report on TechCrunch.com. Using technology Walmart acquired from social media company, Kosmix, since rebranded as WalmartLabs, the app will recommend products not only at Walmart but also dozens of other retailers.
Promoted to the 11 million Facebook users who have "liked" Walmart's fan page, the techonolgy uses advanced algorithms that analyze users' interests based on Facebook posts, profile updates, and "likes," intuitively knowing which items are more likely to be better gifts according to how recently they were released, uniqueness of the product, and consumer buying behavior on Walmart.com. The app leads customers away from Facebook to make the final purchase, but Shopycat will be a separate online store by the middle of 2012, so consumers can buy from Walmart without leaving the social networking site at all.
While a number of other companies such as homemade goods provider, Etsy, have used Facebook activity to make gift recommendations, this is the first time Walmart has entered the social ecommerce field. As the technology to make personalized recommendations improves, social ecommerce is likely to become more prevalent, and an asset for sellers and retailers of all shapes and sizes.
This piece was adapted from a story on TechCrunch.com.
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