Platform Lets Users Shop Online In Real-Time With Friends
Start-up BevyUp harnesses social networks to recreate the social nature of brick and mortar shopping with e-retailers.
Social shopping is taking the web by storm. We’ve grown increasingly comfortable with new websites and apps capturing this thriving area of technological innovation. BevyUp is one such start-up that has been in development for the past year by a handful of ex-Microsoft employees. The start-up seeks to enable shoppers browse and buy online alongside their friends, in real time across channels like Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter to complete multiparty purchasing decisions. BevyUp provides a layer within the user’s browser that moves seamlessly from websites and social media platforms; users can share their screen, activate the webcam, and mark various items they’re interested in purchasing.
Founder Mauricio Cuevas tells the story of how he was bed-ridden following surgery and his sister asked for his help in purchasing a video camera online, “we spent nearly two hours exchanging URLs via email and text, talking on Skype and separately browsing websites. We still weren’t able to come to a consensus and make an online purchase. That’s when I knew there was a business opportunity to create technology that helps shoppers browse and buy items online together… Our goal is to recreate the social shopping experience of brick-and-mortar retail stores on ecommerce sites.” Read our interview with BevyUp below to find out how their start-up is differentiated from other social shopping experiences.
How and when did shopping stop being social?
Shopping in brick-and-mortar stores has always been a social experience. And it still is. Online shopping is a different story. We know people want a social, collaborative experience when they shop online because they are using social networks and tools, like Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, etc., to help them make purchase decisions. But these tools are not designed for collaborative shopping. Meanwhile, online retailers are losing out. Since social shopping interactions are not taking place on their websites, a treasure chest of business intelligence on buying sentiments and preferences is staying locked up on these social media sites and in email exchanges and phone conversations. So online shopping has never stopped been social, because it has not yet become social. The technology has not existed until now.
How did your insights on peer-to-peer networks impact the way you designed your user interface?
We have used some elements that are common in peer-to-peer networks to develop the BevyUp interface, however the design is primarily based on volumes of feedback and online behavior we’ve gathered (and keep gathering) from end users. We are constantly experimenting with our UI based on engagement data and looking for the best performing new elements to incorporate into our experience.
How will BevyUp help bolster analytics and consumer data for your partners? Who are your partners and key supporters?
Many online purchases involve more than one decision maker, including apparel, travel, bridal, jewelry, real estate, and more. Often, buyers are in different cities, states or even countries. BevyUp layers a collaborative social experience on top of any e-commerce site by enabling two or more people to shop online together.
In addition to co-browsing, we integrate text and video chat, sentiment tagging (e.g. love it, don’t like, good deal, too expensive, etc.), a tag board that contains items with the sentiment tags applied to them by visitors, and a “Shop with an expert” option. This allows us to capture shopper activity, and more importantly visibility and actionable intelligence into sentiments and buying intentions that drive purchases.
This consumer data has never been available before, because it can’t be extracted from analyzing a click stream. This is extremely valuable information for our customers, the online retailers. It enables them to convert more sales and capture add-on and up-sell opportunities. We plan to create new revenue sources based on this data. For example, we will enable retailers to offer shoppers real-time and personalized recommendations, etc.
Tell us about the competitive landscape. How has it evolved over the past 5-10 years. Where do you see it going? Which of your competitors seems to have longevity?
Some products have offered bits and pieces of what the BevyUp service does, but no has been able to provide a complete solution. Furthermore, no one has been able to unlock and provide retailers intelligence on shoppers’ sentiments and buying preferences for individual products. Until now they have been unable to access this information because it was buried in Facebook pages, email messages or phone conversations. BevyUp has a first mover advantage.