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Klip.in Launches Social Commerce Platform; Our Take

Klip.in from Smursh Media, is a personalized social shopping platform that allows users to create wishlists and collections, in form of clipboards (or Klipboards as the company likes to call it) as well as connect users with similar interests and wishlists, thereby adding a social layer over the traditional e-commerce model.

Features: When we checked, the website offered three different sections – Shop, Trends and Groups. The Shop section is a regular category-based e-commerce store, which offers merchandise across product categories like Books, Electronics, Movies and Fashion. One can sign up for the service either through Facebook Connect or by filling up a form with their name and email address. Following this, one can select any category of choice to browse through various listings or search for a preferred product through a keyword-based search box. Further, one can also filter the product listings based on pricing and respective sub-categories.

Its worth noting that the company claims to have strategic alliances with various partners like Buytheprice (Electronics), uRead (Books), Zovi (Fashion), Blue Bus Tees (Fashion) among others to offer their merchandise. It has also tied up with Excel Home Videos to offer movie DVDs of popular English movie titles. Depending on the vendor, Klip.in either redirects one to the respective portal or its own checkout process for the final purchase. The company has tied up with Times of Money* for payment purposes. So it aggregates products from other sites in addition to offering some on its own, a mix of affiliate marketing and online sales.

Klipping: What’s more significant is that each product has a ‘Klip It’ button which allows users to add items to their wishlist/ collection, dubbed as Klipboards on the portal. One can click on the Klip it button to add to a klipboard of their preference and add any notes if necessary. The portal also showcases other members which had pinned the same product. This feature looks somewhat reminiscent of the Pinboard functionality on the social network Pinterest. One can create as many boards as they wish and share the boards with their friends and family.

Leaderboard: In a bid to increase the usage of the Klip It button, the company also awards virtual points for every product klip, review and purchase, which can later be redeemed for discounts on the merchandise. Klip.in also has a leader board functionality which lists the top klippers on the portal.

Trends: As expected, the Trends section offers the most trending products on the portal, surfaced from a combination of several factors like the most klipped, bought and reviewed products on Klip.in. One can also further sort the products based on any of the above mentioned factors. We also noticed that the site offered interesting data on how many products have been klipped and how many products have they sold till now, although we are not sure of how factual they were.

Facebook-like News Feed: Klip.in also allows one to follow any specific user and offers a Facebook-like news feed on one’s profile to keep track of Klips and other activities from the users one follows. What’s interesting though is that these updates also feature a ‘Klip It’ and a “Buy It’ button which allows one to place the item directly in their shopping cart.

There is also an omnipresent notification button on the top which alerts users of any activity on their news feed, and a text box to enable users post status messages on their profiles. Interestingly, we noticed that we can also head over to any profile and post updates on their wall. While we feel this feature is probably redundant for the website, it could also possibly lead to spammy updates from over agressive brands.

Groups: Besides this, there is a Groups feature which allows users to create groups or join existing groups to interact with other shoppers.

Monetization: Klip.in currently earns commission on the merchandise sales and plans to introduce advertising and targeted deals in the future. It would be interesting to see if the company also introduces branded groups and profiles with possibly additional features like analytics in the future.

Will it work? While the concept of a social-focussed e-commerce portal seems promising, we think that Klip.in will face some challenges. Since the portal is heavily focussed on social, it would be imperative for the company to receive sizable traction, in order to set them apart from the existing e-commerce portals, but it is yet to be seen if the company will be able to attract a sizable audience. We’re also not sure if e-commerce merchants who have social presence and social sharing features would tie-up with Klip.

Speaking of competitors, we are not sure if there are any Indian companies in the social commerce segment yet, but e-commerce store Yebhi had recently revamped its user interface to add social features like allowing users to pin products from the portal, enabling them to create Pinterest-style boards, and sharing it with their friends and family.

Outside India, there are companies like the US-based Fab.com which recently expanded to 20 countries and hit 7 million registered users, and The Fancy which was recently rumored to be in talks with Apple for an acquisition.

*Disclosure: Times Internet Limited (Indiatimes) is an advertiser with MediaNama

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