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How to gamify shopping via Polyvore for social commerce advantage

As social commerce gains momentum, newer platform Polyvore is emerging as a force due to its interactivity and gamification qualities. 

Retailers with the most discoverable products on social sites lead the way by promoting product content along with branding efforts. For marketers on Polyvore, perhaps it is best to bend the rules to reap the ultimate brand experience.

?Take an analogue of playthings that you find in any magazine and gamify it for the public,? said Gary Schwartz, CEO of Impact Mobile, New York. ?Voila, it?s instant social success. 

?The brilliance for a brand is not creating brand ?sets? as Polyvore wants you to do,? he said. ?The trick would be to find a way of curating other people?s sets. 

?This would be authentic social, and maybe it will happen in 2015.?

How it works
Polyvore becomes smarter overtime when users engage with the app, helping the system learn about users? style and which products they may like more.

When users first download the app, they are encouraged to take a quiz and choose items they like the most, which tells Polyvore what sorts of items to recommend in the future.

?The key for marketers to succeed is to focus on inspiring the consumer instead of just blandly promoting products,? said Shuli Lowy, marketing director of mobile at Ping Mobile, New York.. ?If an item is a statement piece, it can be featured by itself; if it is a basic piece, marketers can spice it up by creating a more elaborate set or setting. 

?Marketers should incorporate creative touches using text, images, etc., to deliver a set that enticing the consumer,? she said. ?Many brands also leverage Polyvore to encourage users, particularly those with a lot of followers, to create their own brand specific sets." 

The app aims to provide stylistic advice, and users can get tips from a community of stylists on how to mix and match their favorites into outfits they have. 

?A user-generated pitch comes across as an unbiased promotion and can therefore get more traction,? Ms. Lowy said. ?A simple way to do this is to run an enticing contest and invite users to create their own sets using a brand?s products. 

?For example, Tory Burch encouraged users to create Venetian themed sets using the Tory Burch pieces,? she said."

Each item on Polyvore is organized by price and retailer.Users can take items on Polyvore and draw with them to make boards in the app. This capability allows users to drag and drop items to personalize their own outfits.

Leveraging the system
The social commerce platform has an edge to standout amongst its competitors. 

?One way through which Polyvore has maintained an impressive market share is through an incredible, crisp site and app experience,? Ms. Lowy said. ?Competitor sites and apps such as Kaboodle or Wanelo just don?t look as smooth?particularly when it comes to sets. 

?Some competitors have yet to build an app, which gives Polyvore another competitive advantage,? she said. ?A fluid phone, tablet, and desktop platform is key when it comes to social commerce. 

?Consumers often spend massive amounts of time browsing through items on their phones and tablets. Mobile is the hub for aspirational content, and many consumers still prefer to convert on a desktop, so it?s important for users to be able to move easily between mobile and desktop, as they can on Polyvore.?

While social commerce is growing, there has been a 60 percent year-over-year increase in revenue originating from social sites including Pinterest, Wanelo, Polyvore and Houzz, according to a recent report from Kenshoo and DataPop.

Responding to this growth, 42 percent of retailers are already pursuing social commerce efforts. However, only a few, such as eBay, Overstock.com and Etsy, follow best practices to insure the discoverability and engagement needed to drive social commerce (see story).

In 2012, Italian label Gucci aimed at the surge of young, trendsetting females on the digital space through a campaign with social commerce site Polyvore to raise awareness for its fall/winter Gucci Icon handbags.
Polyvore users could create a style collage on the site for the chance to win one of the label?s Jackie handbags. Gucci likely tapped the site?s aspirational feel so that more young consumers in the United States would strive to purchase its classic handbags (see story).

The seamless user experience is likely what draws in brands to use the platform.

?I love Polyvore,? Mr. Schwartz said ?Simple is always in.? 

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York