When we first heard about new social shopping startup Motilo, which combines video chat with e-commerce, we were skeptical about it — but retailers clearly disagree, and are excited for the technology. And with good reason — social apps for online shopping have become a serious trend. One of the latest companies hopping aboard is beauty brand M.A.C. Cosmetics.
On Friday, M.A.C. quietly debuted “Shop Together,” an IM-like feature present throughout their website. When you click on the “Shop Together” icon — which is nestled under each product alongside other sharing icons like Digg, Facebook and Twitter — a window pops up prompting you to connect with a friend. Follow the instructions and the two of you will be chatting on M.A.C.’s site as you peruse mascaras and lip pencils.
The question is, again: Do shoppers actually want this type of functionality? It is easier to use (and hide at work) than a video chat, and many people employ some sort of AIM or IM service when they’re online. But will anyone actually use this?
M.A.C. has integrated the technology pretty seamlessly within their e-commerce environment, and we have a feeling that more and more retailers will soon follow suit, adding chat programs as another facet of their social strategy. Plus, if M.A.C. is monitoring or saving the chats (it’s unclear what happens to them), they would be the type of information marketers would kill for.