Rasba, a new social shopping site founded by a 16-year-old Silicon Valley entrepreneur, recognizes that money and friends are powerful tools of persuasion.
The idea behind Rasba isn’t entirely new; others such as Kaboodle, ThisNext, StyleHive, and Wists have sought to bring a personal touch to online shopping. But whereas these other sites provide places for people to recommend goods sold elsewhere, Rasba serves as a storefront for retailers in addition to a social network for shoppers.
If you’re a consumer, you can create an account on Rasba, fill out your profile, and make friends. When you buy goods, they’ll go onto your profile alongside the retailers you’ve favorited. If your friends (or anyone else) happens to buy something after finding it on your page, you get a commission. This commission starts at 2% and goes up depending on how great an incentive a retailer wants to provide.
Conversely, if you want to sell merchandise online, you can create a retailer account on Rasba and set up your online storefront in a minimal number of steps. In this regard, Rasba can be compared to Etsy, which specializes in the sale of handmade goods. Rasba, on the other hand, provides mostly fashion but intends to branch out into all types of goods, such as electronics and toys.
There are a handful of useful goodies for both shoppers and retailers. Shoppers can make wishlists of things that they want their friends to buy for them. And retailers can track the activity on their store using a comprehensive analytics tool. Anybody who favorites these retailers will also show up on their pages as fans.
Miriam Brafman, the young founder of Rasba, didn’t have any programming knowledge when she came up with the idea for it. So she sought out developers through LinkedIn and other means. She now has a full-time Yahoo employee working on the site for her, presumably in his off hours. She spends most of her time these days traveling to meet with retailers who might want to set up shop on Rasba.