by Alyssa Oursler | August 2, 2013 9:02 am
Amazon (AMZN), already the clear giant of the e-commerce world, is trying to make things a bit more social.
Headlines this morning report the company has quietly launched a new feature that, more or less, works just like Pinterest. It’s called “Collections,” allows users to categorize and share shopping wish lists, and can be found here.
Of course, while everyone’s calling this a rip-off of the popular Pinterest site, it’s more accurately a rip-off of Facebook’s (FB) rip-off of Pinterest.
If you remember, Facebook — in one of many moves toward monetizing its site — tried to find that sweet spot between social and retail last year as well. It, too, was dubbed “Collections,” and let users save product photos onto a variety of Pinterest-liked boards.
The difference, of course, comes with approach. While Pinterest and even Facebook started out on the social side of things and attempted to tiptoe into the retail side, Amazon has to make its move in the opposite direction, which might actually be an easier transition.
On Pinterest, the line from pinning a product you like to buying it isn’t always a straight or easy one. Many of the fashions it features — even if they do link back to a sale page — take users to a shopping site they must then sign up for. Plus, others just link to blogs about fashion — a frustrating reality for eager pinners who just fell in love with a featured pair of jeans but can find nothing more than photos of them. (Can you say first-world problems?)
Facebook had to go out and find retailers to be part of its Collections rollout. And while the variety — names from Nordstrom (JWN) to Macy’s (M) to Michael Kors (KORS) — was impressive, it wasn’t enough … as illustrated by how quickly the once-hyped service faded away.
Meanwhile, it’s no secret that Amazon already boasts an extensive online mall for shoppers to choose from, while this new feature gives users a more organized and visually pleasing way to save items they stumble on for later.
Though my main issue is this: If I do find an adorable new shirt and buy it, the last thing I want to do is add it to my collection so all my friends can snatch up the exact same thing.
Then again, if my friends use my Collections wishlist as a gift guide when my birthday rolls around in a couple months, I probably won’t be complaining.
Goodbye, piles of Apple (AAPL) iTunes giftcards … hello, outfits of my dreams.
Alyssa Oursler is an Assistant Editor of InvestorPlace. As of this writing, she did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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