Walmart Launches Facebook ‘Shopycat’ Gift App

Capitalising on current digital and social media technologies, Walmart Stores Inc. will strengthen its online presence by launching a Facebook social shopping application that offers gift recommendations from Walmart.com and 20 other leading e-commerce retailers, including NBC Universal, ThinkGeek, RedEnvelope, Barnes & Noble and many others.

According to the app’s Facebook page, “Shopycat was created to help you discover the gifts your friends and family really want. With Shopycat’s help, last minute and unwanted gifts are a thing of the past.”

Explaining how the app works, the page also states, “Your friends and family have shared exactly what their hobbies and interests are on Facebook. We scour through that shared information and match it to products that they’re sure to enjoy.”

In other words, Shopycat, launched by the US retail giant’s recently formed research lab, @WalMartLabs, with your permission utilises all that data shared on Facebook, such as information on people, relationship links, places, topics, products, “likes” and profile updates, to offer up gift suggestions for what it determines are the user’s family and friends.   The app then recommends gift ideas based on items available on the associated retailers’ websites.

The app also helps users let others know what kinds of gifts they want, with an option to create a profile listing their likes and dislikes. Apparently the app is able to understand such expressions as “I hate science fiction” and as a result, wouldn’t suggest buying the Harry Potter series for that person.

With @WalmartLabs continuing its work on a number of initiatives that will serve to augment the retailer’s website, Walmart.com, and its brand presence on social media, Shopycat is just one way in which Walmart is embracing true multi-channel retailing.

Roadtesting ShopyCat

Although I don’t live in the US, I still used Shopycat for some much-needed Christmas gift inspiration, and here is how it played out:

Walmart's ShopyCat Facebook Application

A Chuck Norris Fact Book for dad?  Yep, he’d love that. PASS.

Walmart's ShopyCat Facebook Application

Well I know for a fact my brother didn’t like this movie, but because on Facebook he has said he likes Australia – as in the country  – this is what Shopycat has recommended. FAIL.

Walmart's ShopyCat Facebook Application

200 Years of Dolls would have been perfect for Grandma, had she not passed away five years ago.  But for my husband? Unless there is a rugby-playing doll featured in that book or there’s something my husband isn’t telling me, Houston, Walmart and Facebook, we have a problem.  MASSIVE FAIL.

Walmart's ShopyCat Facebook Application

A Starbucks Sampler Gift Basket for my sister isn’t bad, but I know deep down she’d be thinking that a Moet & Chandon hamper would have been better.  PASS – but only just.

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