Summary:

Glimpse, a new Pinterest-like application powered by Facebook Likes, is now making the ubiquitous “Like” button a lot more useful by tying universal price alerts to it. Users who like a product can receive an email alert when it goes on sale.

GlimpsePriceAlert DRAFT

Retailers have plastered their sites with Facebook “Like” buttons but the payoff hasn’t always been that rewarding for consumers or retailers. But Glimpse, a new Pinterest-style Facebook application powered by Likes, is now making the ubiquitous button a lot more useful by tying universal price alerts to it.

Glimpse users who install the Facebook app can now get an email when a product they have liked goes on sale. That means that consumers have a real reason to push the Like button because they’ll get a tangible benefit from it. That has been one of the problems of liking something: users were spreading the word about a brand or product but getting little in return. And, now, retailers can also get a better sense of consumer intent because the action carries a higher likelihood that someone will actually buy a product, provided it goes on sale.

The price alert service extends the original mission of Glimpse, which created Pinterest-like bookmarking boards based on the products people have liked. It also builds upon the work of TheFind, the product search company that created Glimpse. TheFind has previously offered sale alerts on more than 500 million products in its database. By marrying the Like button with price alerts, Glimpse is making the button even more of a wish list trigger and helping retailers enhance their Like button investment.

“We can go back to a retailer and say, ‘Here are people who like this product. Here’s a chance to make sales this month for people who declared their intent,’” CEO Siva Kumar told me in an interview.

There are currently 5.6 million products on the web that have been Liked by at least one person, said Kumar, up from 2 million at the end of last year. Now, 70 percent of online commerce sites have installed Like buttons for individual products. There’s no guarantee that merchants will act upon this Like data. Some could conceivably use the information to decide not to put something on sale based on the apparent demand. But Kumar said users are not committing to buying something, just sharing more interest with a retailer. And retailers are the ones with the inventory so they’ll likely blink first, he said.

I think the added functionality of the Like button shows some of the potential of Facebook as a social commerce tool. So far, it’s still just scratching the surface of helping enable more sales. But if it can refine some of the signals it’s getting from consumers, it can be even more valuable to advertisers and brands. That’s why it’s testing out a Want button, because it can capture more of that consumer intent beyond a “Like” button, which can mean anything from wanting something to declaring that you already own it.

Kuma said Glimpse’s price alert service can work with a Want button as well. In either case, he said, tying price alerts to the action can also serve as great re-engagement tool for retailers. Many retailers, he said, know when consumers come in via search marketing, but they have limited ways of retargeting them later after they’ve left.

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