Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I know I have talked about how much I enjoy shopping
social media websites before, so when I was offered
a chance to check out RetailFans before it officially
launched, I jumped at the chance. RetailFans is for
the fashion and beauty obssessed. Find out what other
people love and tell everyone what you love.
What makes RetailFans different from other shopping
social media communities? It so much more simple to
use and navigate. For instance, once you're on the
website you can easily discover new items without
the feeling of being a little overwhelmed. You
see the items, read the review and click on the
heart if your a fan of the item. So easy....
You can also make lists and recommend items that
you like and want to share. And when people "fan"
items that you have submitted you earn Karma Points
which will soon come with benefits.
I was lucky enough to ask a few questions to Alex
Robarts, the founder of RetailFans.
Q- When did you come up with the idea for RetailFans?
Alex- I watched my girlfriend become frustrated browsing
around a fashion forum and not being able to find what she
was after. She wanted to use the knowledge in that community
to find out what new trends were worth checking out but
couldn't cut through all the noise - there's no way to sort
the good from the bad in traditional forum software.
RetailFans wasn't designed as a replacement for forums but
as a better way to share recommendations, which wasn't being
fulfilled well by traditional forums.
Q- Before RetailFans, what was your career?
Alex- I've worked on a variety of large, consumer websites.
I developed real estate portal websites for several years and
more recently worked on shopping websites such as http://Retail
MeNot.com (coupons) and http://BeatMyPrice.com (price comparison).
Q- What do you love most about this? Any tips for my readers?
Alex- What I really love is building websites that provide
a great user experience and I think there's a lack of really
simple-to-use websites where the fashion community can share
their experiences. One site that I do love is polyvore.com -
such a simple but expressive concept.
Q- What do you see in the future of RetailFans?
Alex- At its heart, RetailFans is about the community - the
conversation, recommendations and voting. I expect features
that tap into the community, like polls (e.g. "Which of these
dresses should I wear to a party tonight?") and automated
recommendations ("other users that liked this also liked this..."),
will be high on the list. One "feature" that the site will always
strive to keep is simplicity. Ultimately, feedback from
users of the site will drive the future direction.
Check out RetailFans today!