Philadelphia-based marketing-technology company Curalate introduced Thursday what it called an "evolutionary" product that expands its mission of making "social (channels) the new storefront."
Long in planning and beta testing, the launch of Curalate Showroom at the GrowCommerce Summit in New York came just two days after Amazon jumped into the social-meets shopping business with Spark, a shoppable feed of stories and photos aimed at its Prime Members.
Luke Butler, Curalate's strategy and operations officer, characterized the Amazon move as "a validation of what we've been working on for the last five years."
With Curalate Showroom, images and videos on social channels become shoppable, increasing visitors' time on the site and encouraging them to open up their virtual wallets. Dressing up a user-tapped image or video with a separate feed of the individual products visible in the picture and available for purchase, plus related goodies, "Curalate Showroom enables brands and retailers to go beyond search, and is the closest you can get to walking the aisles of a retail store online" said Apu Gupta, CEO and cofounder of Curalate.
Nearly 70 brands – including Guess, Forever 21, Lowe's, and Z Gallerie — are going live with Curalate Showroom enhancements this week.
Conshohocken-based David's Bridal, already testing it in beta form on Facebook and now planning to "roll it out across all our marketing channels," has found Curalate Showroom "incredibly easy to use," said Callie Canfield, senior director of global marketing communications. "Because of the relevant product recommendations and engaging content Showroom provides, the consumers who click through to our site are much more engaged, with higher intent to purchase."
Soccer.com is another early adopter, using Showroom to make organic Snapchat posts shoppable "without having to jump through any technical hoops," and it is now planning to add links to Instagram Stories and Facebook posts, as well, said Colby Walker, senior manager of digital experience. (The likes of Twitter, YouTube, and email are also within the Curalate Showroom's virtual reach.)
Likewise beta tested before its public launch on Tuesday, Amazon Spark aims to move some of the 2.5 billion users of social media — and the social activity buzzing around products — back to Amazon country. Borrowing structural elements of Instagram and Pinterest, Amazon Prime invites its members to join the new socializing and shopping-obsessed Spark family through "programs and features" in the Amazon app. Then, entering their five favorite lifestyle/merchandise interests fine-tunes the feed of pictures and stories and all-important product reviews to be fed from fellow Spark "enthusiasts."
Non-Prime members can browse Spark — and connected product sales pages — but can't post or react with comments and "smiles."
Will Amazon's entry spark even more product makers and retailers to see the wisdom in Curalate, which already is working with 800-plus brands through its Curalate Discovery-Driven Commerce Platform?