With Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr all still growing like mad, the chase is on to find the smartest ways to marry all that social activity with commerce, a puzzle that hasn’t really been cracked. On Wednesday at the ER Accelerator Demo Day in New York, I got a look at a few start-ups that have some cool ideas on how to let brands and companies start to make some real money from social.
Stylyt is platform that lets fashion brands upload pieces from their upcoming collection to its site where users can customize those items with an HTML5 engine. Users can choose colors, fabrics and shapes and then put their creations up for a vote to the Stylyt community. The designs are also easily shared on Facebook, Twitter and other social channels. The winning creations get put into production and are available within a few months.
Stylyt is interesting for brands because it gives them a great way to engage consumers and ultimately point them back to their own commerce sites. Sylyt co-founder Jenny Wu said 21 percent of early beta users submitted content, 62 percent voted at least once and 36 percent clicked through to a brand site. Brands can also take the input from users and help predict demand and also understand how consumer tastes are shifting. For consumers, it’s a fun way to put their creativity into action and lets them potentially make something they can buy. Stylyt makes money through the sale of these creations and limited edition products as well as through a software-as-a-service product for brands.
Dibsie works as a big online catalog that aggregates products from multiple brands and retailers and curates it all using a person’s social network. Think of it like a more product-focused Pinterest. Users can see search from a catalog of 2 million items from Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Nordstroms and other brands. The catalog is is built around a user’s social graph and is informed by their activity and interests. They can easily bookmark products they want to come back to and they can share it easily among their friends on Dibsie, which is connected to Facebook through Facebook Connect.
Garren Givens, co-founder of Dibsie said friends who shop alone have a 4 percent conversion rate in general but 16 percent buy when shopping with friends through Dibsie. Since launching in beta in January, Dibsie has had 50,000 visitors and more than 1 million product impressions. Givens said returning users are spending an average of 15 minutes per session on the site. Dibsie currently builds its catalog by aggregating APIs from brands and retailers, but it’s looking to strike partnership deals with companies to get even deeper brand integration. And it’s also looking at licensing its technology to publishers and retailers who want a white label product. Dibsie is still very small and the challenge will be to see if it can repeat its results as it scales.
TripleLift is looking to become the first enterprise marketing platform for Pinterest. What that means is that it’s offering brands an enterprise tool to help them interact with consumers on Pinterest, analyze their performance, gain sentiment analysis and guide their ad buying. So a brand can use TripleLift to understand how their pin boards are doing, how closely they are getting to their target audience and how well they’re turning interest into sales. Brands can also use TripleLift to place pin buttons on their own advertisements, which allow users to inspect every product in the ad. TripleLift can also help companies target customers with ads based on their Pinterest activity.
Co-founder Eric Berry said the company is positioned to be a critical tool for companies that want to monetize and market through Pinterest. And it’s poised to grow along with social advertising market, which is worth $3 billion now and is growing by 75 percent each year. By being kind of Hootsuite or BuddyMedia for Pinterest, TripleLift can benefit as more brands look to tap the shopping power of Pinterest. Betting the company on Pinterest can be tricky if that site starts to lose steam but for now, it looks like it’s worth the gamble.