In a Harris Interactive study about the role of social media in consumer behavior, 71% of respondents said reviews from family members and friends ‘trump all’ when it comes to influencing purchases. A new Facebook app called Stucck is designed to help consumers tap into their trusted network of friends and family on Facebook to make purchase decisions. Rather than relying on paid advertising or online reviews from strangers, Stucck users can post a side-by-side comparison of two products, and watch in realtime as their social network weighs in.
How does it work?
Combining e-commerce and social media, Stucck allows consumers to poll their Facebook friends when they are “stuck” deciding between two products. It’s basically a three-part process, described as “stuckking stones” on the website:
- Sign in to create a Stucck – show your Facebook friends what you are torn between. You sign in via Facebook, and then ‘create’ a Stucck, choosing between the featured product categories available. For the beta launch, this includes books, movies, music, shoes, fashion and wireless. Type in the two products in which you’re interested, and then the app displays a side-by-side comparison of the two items. Note: the app will not display certain items – I tried to enter hats from Spirithoods.com but it couldn’t ‘find’ them.
- Ask your friends for opinions – in the form of a poll. Currently, what posts to Facebook is a link to the Stucck.com page and any comment you make about your ‘Stucck’ situation above it. Users can choose which groups of friends the ‘Stucck’ will go out to (or, if gift-buying, exclude the recipient). Facebook friends then click on the link and are asked to connect with Facebook in order to vote and/or comment; the app gathers the comments and votes from Facebook friends in realtime.
- Decide and “move on living” – once your friends have helped you decide, Stucck makes it easy to buy. There is a convenient Amazon.com ‘buy now’ button next to each item, allowing the user–or friends who vote/comment on the ‘Stucck’–to purchase one of the items with just a few clicks.
Stucck says it is the “first virtual application of its kind to use social media as a consumer decision engine.” While online product reviews are written by strangers and may hide paid marketing content, Stucck lets users tap into their social connections to make an informed choice about a product, based on a side-by-side comparison.
The basic idea is great, and it provides an easy way for users to see what their friends think of a product. However, some friends may be hesitant to click on the link to see a ‘Stucck’, since the post as it appears on Facebook is vague. It doesn’t show the items, the poll, or explain what will show up once the ‘Stucck’ link is clicked. Also, some friends may not want to register with the Stucck app in order to vote–currently that’s the only way to weigh in on a friend’s dilemma.
But when you’re stuck making a hard choice between two purchases, crowdsourcing your decision to your friends and family can be a good way to go. Keith Vest, President of The Variable (creators of Stucck), says “Stucck will be a game-changer, as consumers are going to have a place where they help each other decide which products are really worth buying.”
Because no matter how effective your brand’s marketing, “a product recommendation from a friend has, and always will be, the most powerful form of advertising.”