TheFind, the second largest shopping website in the world behind Google, today launches a new social shopping feature called Shop Like Friends. It allows users to see product search results limited to brands and stores Liked by a specific friend or a professional entity such a Facebook Page or a blogger. New privacy options also accompany the feature. TheFind hopes that by shopping from within the preferences of a friend or trusted public figure, users will receive more relevant search results and buy more.
Shop Like Friends builds off of TheFind’s initial integration with Facebook launched last month, which shows users how many friends and others Like a certain brand or store, and Shop Like Me which lets users refine search results based on their existing Likes. Now, users who log in to TheFind using Facebook Connect and give the proper permissions will see their profile pic on the site, as well as the new Shop Like Friends tab.
When users click the tab, they’ll be presented names and profile pictures of friends who have Likes which correspond to stores and brands indexed by TheFind. Once a user selects a friend, their screen will read “Shop Like [friend’s name]”, and TheFind will limit results to that person’s Likes. If a user has a friend who is especially into women’s fashion, they might want to Shop Like that friend when looking for dresses. The same goes if they were looking for car parts and had a friend who’s Likes reflect their recommendations of certain automotive brands or stores.
TheFind powers Shop Like Friends by pulling the Likes of your Facebook friends, meaning they don’t need to be users of TheFind to contribute their data. TheFind makes opting out of contributing your own data to the feature easy by offering its own layer of privacy controls. Under the search bar is a message stating “Allow [Everyone/Friends/Just Me] to Shop Like Me”, and a “Change my settings” button to select who can use your data. Users can also click an adjacent “Learn about privacy” button to see an explanation of TheFind’s privacy settings, and a step by step walk-through of how to change your Facebook privacy settings for the data shared with applications of friends.
Users who don’t have a specific friend with Likes of what they’re searching for can select a Featured Shopper to see search results refined by the Likes of an expert in the field. Those who think their own Likes could help other users of TheFind can click “Oooh, pick me!” to submit an application to become a Featured Shopper.
While TheFind’s other social shopping features are a natural integration of Facebook’s data, Shop Like Friends may be ahead of it’s time. Few users currently have Likes which accurately reflect even general interests, let alone enough Likes of specific appliance, book, or jewelry brands and stores for limiting results to those Likes to provide useful results. Until they do, users of TheFind are better off using the Shop The Web tab with its Like counts to have a social shopping experience.