Wildcard Friday – "Fancy" Some Online Shopping?



I said I’d be back with some more news regarding Pinterest so here I am. I’m growing a bit tired of Pinterest and you probably are too since it’s blown up in the past few months and everyone keeps talking about it. Like everything else out there in the world, there’s always something bigger and better that’s up and coming. Even though Pinterest seems to lean more towards a form of self-expression and not a place to shop, one of the issues presented in the last blog was how Pinterest would make itself profitable. Here’s where The Fancy has one-upped them.

A year-old website called The Fancy has some similarities to Pinterest. It’s an online social community that allows you to “pin” or “fancy” certain items that are posted by users or merchants. One of the biggest differences is the number of users each site has. According to VentureBeat.com, Pinterest has 11,000,000 registered users while The Fancy only has 250,000; however, The Fancy has a database full of items and Pinterest users have been quoted as saying that many times they’ve actually taken content from The Fancy and put it on Pinterest.
If you’ve ever used Pinterest before, you’ll notice it’s set up in a very granular sort of way whereas The Fancy has very broad topics to explore. In using The Fancy, you may have also noticed that it sells very high-end items – from helicopter tours to $600 scarves. A girl can dream, right? The only disappointment I faced was realizing that a picture of a baby polar bear was for sale…and not the actual bear.

The Fancy already has made a way to keep users around. Much like Groupon-type sites, The Fancy offers discounts and coupons for fancying certain items. I tried it out for myself and found that these are usually pretty good discounts, too. Just for clicking on one item, I got a promo code for $10 off a purchase of $60 or over and 10% off a purchase of an expensive camera.
In addition to these deals, e-commerce stores and brands can now go on the site and sign up to be a seller of a product that has been featured on the site. Sellers end up bidding on the item and if they are approved, fill out pricing and quantity information, and answer if they want to offer these items to fanciers at a discounted rate.

This is interesting because it’s the exact opposite of what was getting big this time about four years ago where these coupon sites (Groupon, Trubates, LivingSocial, etc.) were offering users specific deals and consumers were purchasing them. Now, consumers are in charge. They see something that they like, fancy it and then stores and brands are in competition to sell that product. Instead of bigger entities telling consumers what they should want; it’s now the reverse.

This may be scary to brands and stores, but to smaller store owners this may be a blessing in disguise. A store that has struggled with getting its name out there may see impactful results. For example, if one of your products catches fire, it may start selling and your store can create a loyal following. The only problems I can foresee are stores not having good photography and not having a product that’s mainstream enough for the masses. But it does makes for great insight into what consumers want and what they are buying.

As an employee of an internet marketing company, I find this to be a daunting new way to sell merchandise, but one that will hopefully pay off for everyone in the end. And, as a consumer that does a lot of online shopping and Pinteresting, I find this to be a breath of much-needed fresh air in the e-commerce world.