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This article was published on September 23, 2011

A Facebook lifestyle app that hopes to recreate real-world shopping

A Facebook lifestyle app that hopes to recreate real-world shopping
Drew Olanoff
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Drew Olanoff

Drew Olanoff was The Next Web's West Coast Editor. He coined the phrase "Social Good" and invented the "donation by action" model for onlin Drew Olanoff was The Next Web's West Coast Editor. He coined the phrase "Social Good" and invented the "donation by action" model for online charitable movements. He founded #BlameDrewsCancer. You can follow him on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, or email [email protected]

I had the opportunity to speak with Henry Kim, Co-Founder and President of the social shopping site sneakpeeq today to discuss their upcoming Facebook Open Graph initiatives.

sneakpeeq is a shopping site that, in Kim’s words “mimicks the hustle and bustle of offline shopping”, something not many e-commerce sites have been able to replicate in the past.

The company background that is the most intriguing is Harish Abbott’s, Co-Founder and CEO, who is credited with having a big hand in conceiving and building the shipping infrastructure that Amazon has become famous for.

Replicating an offline shopping experience isn’t easy, and typically happens in 3 stages, Kim explains.

– You go to a store with no idea of what you’d like to buy
– Something catches your eye
– You flip the pricetag over and make your decision

That serendipitous shopping experience is what sneakpeeq aims to replicate. And the company does an amazing job at it.

Up until now, the online shopping experience starts with you doing a Google or Bing search for exactly what you want, followed by a prompt with a few options based on price. Normally a shopper would purchase the one with the best price.

The difference with sneakpeeq, is that the company has a relationship with over 400 brands, and that’s growing daily. Brands are now reaching out to sneakpeeq to get involved. Those relationships, plus a solid discovery platform with a twist, is what makes sneakpeeq stand out.

When you visit sneakpeeq, you are shown a variety of brand name in season items. This isn’t extra stock of outdated items, we’re told.

Once you’ve found something of interest, one click on it and you are presented with the item page and information. Except there’s one thing missing.

The price.

To see a price of an item that caught your eye, you have to click the “peeq” button. At which time, a prompt comes up to connect with Facebook. After connection, you are able to share the item with your friends, and are then shown the price. The price is known only to you and the seller. This is important to brands, Kim says.

This type of “brand protection”, as Kim calls it, destroys the old “70% off” model, which customers may see as cheapening the product. The item is then shipped directly to the shopper after purchase, or the brand can decide to go through sneakpeeq’s customer service team, and the normal turnaround for the company is under 6 days.

In regards to Facebook’s Open Graph announcement yesterday at f8, we’re told that sneakpeeq is listed as a strategic partner in the “Lifestyle Apps” category on Facebook, which gets the company early access to all of the developer information, which is a huge advantage for the company.

In fact, some of their seed investors are early Facebook employees.

Kim tells us that “deep integration” with Facebook’s Open Graph is imminent, and we’ll update you on when that happens.

Currently, over 48% of sneakpeeq shoppers are repeat customers, with one woman purchasing over 85 items in just under 5 months.

About sneakpeeq and Facebook’s Open Graph, Kim says:

“For us, the way we see ourselves with Open Graph, it’s essentially the way people would shop offline, it’s mimicking the hustle and bustle of offline shopping.”

“Facebook has made everything democratic, every brand has a chance now, that’s what open graph and Facebook is all about, a fair playing field”

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