Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Microsoft, TheFind leverage tablets, social media for new catalog shopping experience

Microsoft and TheFind are combining tablet and social shopping in a new HTML5-based catalog-like experience that gives users access to products from retailers such as Lands’ End, Patagonia and Crate & Barrel.

Glimpse Catalogs enables users to flip through the Web like it is a print catalog via a tablet or PC. By integrating with Facebook “Likes,” Glimpse curates items specifically for users based on what they and their friends like.

“Our goal with Glimpse is to thoroughly re-imagine online shopping,” said User Lieberman, director of communications at TheFind, Mountain View, CA

“Glimpse is what online shopping should be,” he said. “It’s social, it’s personal, it’s useful, it’s easy, and it’s fun.

“It is the only site that can mash all of the online retail together with all of Facebook along with most offline catalogs to create a true shopping app that is social by design. Drawing on Facebook for social cues, Glimpse automatically knows what you like, who your friends are, and what they like.”

More personalized shopping
On tablets, shoppers tend to engage for longer periods of time and browse catalogs from cover to cover. At the same time, the growing use of Facebook’s “Like” button means data is available to create a custom-arranged shopping experience that is personalized to user tastes.

Glimpse takes advantage of both of these shopping trends with a rich user experience that is optimized for tablets while giving users the ability to browse what their friends like or have Glimpsed.

Users collect things that catch their eyes in catalogs anyone can see and browse through professionally curated print catalogs from popular retailers.

“By combining these themes, we think online shopping fundamentally shifts from being the search-driven task it is today into the immersive discovery-based experience that Glimpse showcases,” Mr. Lieberman said.

Immersive shopping
TheFind, which is a shopping search engine, partnered with Microsoft and digital agency Fi to launch Glimpse Catalogs.

Users can browse products by flipping pages swiping their finger at the corner of a page or by clicking a mouse. Content, which can be browsed by friend or brand, appears on both sides of the page.

The use of hot-spotting technology makes it easy for users to discover new products.

TheFind launched a catalog app for tablets last year called the Catalogue. It also launched Glimpse as a Facebook app several months ago.

Glimpse Catalogs works across all browsers but is optimized for Internet Explorer 9 and 10 as well as Windows 8.

“Catalogue has been downloaded more than a million times in little more than a year, while Glimpse has been steadily gaining users in the two months or so since it was launched as a Facebook app,” Mr. Lieberman said.

“We anticipate that usage will be spread across devices, but ultimately expect that the best engagement metrics will continue to be seen on tablet devices, where shopping has become a more immersive, tactile and visually pleasing experience,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York