This week, New York-based The Fancy, a Pinterest-like site with a focus on not just browsing, but buying from its collection of inspirational imagery, began encouraging users to share its content on social networks in exchange for cash rewards. But paid promotion via social sharing was only one part of the company’s larger plan. Today, the company is rolling out another piece of the puzzle and is introducing “Buy” buttons to power purchasing behaviors on any website.
The “Buy” button is targeted at bloggers and other publishers, not online merchants or e-commerce sites, of course. It should be especially appealing to the large and growing community of fashion bloggers, who frequently post images of clothing and accessories like those that you also find on The Fancy. And it gives them another way to monetize their sites beyond using text-based or banner advertisements.
The Fancy is working closely with the Independent Fashion Bloggers network at launch, which represents over 30,000 writers. According to editor Taylor Davies, the button could end up being “the next step in how we, as blog consumers, shop and purchase things we like and see,” she says. The advantage of this button, Davies thinks, is that it allows users to make purchases from the site without leaving the page. (Checkout pops up in a window on the site itself, similar to what 72Lux currently offers – see screenshot below for an example).
The connection to the fashion industry is one of The Fancy’s key strengths, in fact, as one of its big investors is PPR, the $25 billion firm run by Francois Henri-Pinault which owns major fashion brands like Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga. Because of that relationship, several high fashion sites now sport Fancy’s social commerce integrations, including Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and others. The company also partnered with Oscar de la Renta earlier this year to sell an item from the designer’s spring collection, and saw $10,000 worth of the shirts sold in the first week.
Working the e-commerce angle is a major differentiating factor for The Fancy, which offers merchants a way to sell via the site, and its rival Pinterest. In fact, Pinterest backer Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten, recently alluded to The Fancy’s movements in this area with a thinly veiled hint of disdain, telling Forbes, “there are so many copycats of Pinterest already who are focusing just on shopping but they are not getting as much attraction as Pinterest because they are too commercial.” That may be true for some users, but success stories like Fab.com, for example, do prove there’s potential in social commerce. And on The Fancy, it’s growing. In May, its platform was seeing $50,000 a week in commerce. That number is now $75,000, Michael Silverman, Fancy COO tells me. The site also has a million users who “fancy” items over 500,000 times per day.
“Many people say they do social shopping, but nobody does it as extensively as we do,” The Fancy CEO Joe Einhorn told TechCrunch’s Alexia Tsotsis yesterday at Allen & Co’s Sun Valley conference, where Einhorn, Pinault and the Fancy board member Jack Dorsey were all in attendence. Allen & Co is a major investor in The Fancy.
The new “Buy” button should be made available on the company’s website shortly, alongside the other widgets and buttons The Fancy currently offers.
Fancy (www.thefancy.com) is for curators of style. It’s part store, part blog, part magazine and part bookmarking tool. It’s a place to share and discover great stuff, to curate a collection of things that define your style, to create a museum of Me.