Online shopping has traditionally been a solitary experience but thanks to a clever new social retailing platform called Stalkthis, you can now bring your friends along.
The brainchild of Frederica Heacock and Alexi Dascarolis, the concept was borne out of a dinner conversation with their husbands.
“Our husbands were basically paying us out about our shopping habits and we were defending ourselves,” said Alexi.
“We were saying, ‘actually, we don’t just go online and impulse-buy, we stalk it first. We look around, see what’s available, check for sales and make sure we get the best price. And because we’re buying online, we often get things on sale from overseas before they’re even available here.’
“And that’s when Frederica’s husband, a user experience architect, said, ‘Oh my God! We could make a web site out of that!’”
That was July 2011. Fast forward less than two years and Stalkthis already has over 8000 members, 10,000 unique visitors and monthly page views tallying 160,000.
On first inspection, Stalkthis looks suspiciously like Pinterest but it doesn’t take long to spot the difference.
Where Pinterest is flooded with the aspirational and fantastical – the fairytales and dreams of lottery wins and weddings to Ryan Gosling – Stalkthis is for serious shoppers.
“If you shop online, you might have 20 different websites that you’re looking at and each one of them is going to want to sign you up and send you emails and you might not want all that,” said Alexi.
“With Stalkthis, you can keep everything in one place and go back to it whenever you like.”
And it’s not just for window shopping. The site also notifies you when something you’re watching goes on sale!
Frederica said the platform also integrates with social media such as facebook so people can share information about a product and their purchases with friends.
“It’s particularly useful for influencers like bloggers and stylists who have a significant social media following,” she said.
“For example, we’ve recently done a promotion with Chloe Morello, who is one of Australia’s top two beauty bloggers, and she has an enormous following. But it’s not just about lots of new people – these are really high quality stalkers who are very engaged and bring diversity to the content.”
It’s not hard to see the benefit of Stalkthis for retailers and, predictably, Frederica and Alexi already have this sector in their sights.
“Pinterest has 92% re-pins, meaning people are not leaving the site to introduce new content,” said Alexi.
“By comparison, Stalkthis has about 50,000 stalked items and 65,000 restalks so there’s much more of a balance. This shows that people are using Stalkthis as a tool to help them shop for things they want to buy.
“So Pinterest is aspirational but Stalkthis is inspirational.”
Window shopping versus just, well, shopping shopping!
“We have a global strategy,” said Frederica.
Adds Alexi, “Within three to five years, we definitely see the site being everyone’s shopping network.”
From a bit of teasing over dinner, to a viable business idea, to world domination: just three easy steps!
Stalkthis was founded by Frederica and David Heacock, and Alexi and Michael Dascarolis.