Friday, April 29, 2011

Start-Up Watch COD: Wantlet helps consumers get recos and second opinions on what they want

The importance of personal recommendations in motivating purchase is well documented. Harris Interactive conducted a survey in June 2010 that showed that for 71% of consumers, recommendations from friends and family exert a “great deal” of influence on their purchases and opinions. Further, in February of last year, eMarketer reported that a personal recommendation exerts 12X the influence on purchase as manufacturer-authored content.

With numbers like this, it’s only natural that there has been a lot of start-up activity to harness and leverage the power of personal recommendations for purchase. One of the companies in this business arena that is drawing major attention is Wantlet.

Wantlet is an intriguing new service from an Helsinki-based start-up that helps people get recommendations and second opinions about products through their social graphs. You list a want and it appears both on your FB page and in the Wantlet community. From there, people can leave comments related to what they think about an item, where to buy it, and the like.

The idea, of course, is to get great tips and advice from really savvy people whose opinions you value. When you click on a link in Facebook, you are redirected to a page on the Wantlet site with your listing. Here your friends as well as other community members can leave you nuggets of sage wisdom.

Here’s the video explanation:

Wantlet offers a very interesting value prop to marketers and retailers. Essentially it works like a sponsored search word, only with a graphical ad. Your ad appears on pages listed with keywords that you select.

The ad includes information about your e-store or physical location, item photos, item description, as well as information about any offers you might have available on the product. You don’t need to offer a discount to use the service, though naturally it would drive a higher response rate.

So, for example, after I made my post asking for info about the CTS coupe, I might see an ad for a nearby Cadillac dealer, or perhaps a Lexus dealer, designed to attract my custom. The ad listing would include a map, dealer info, as well as any special discounts, low interest rate financing, or rebates that might be available.

The listing for a local retailer will appear in Wantlet listings in its immediate vicinity. A participating brand can also garner insights about local category wants and searches by joining the site for a minimal monthly fee.

Here’s a vid about how advertisers participate:

As a marketing tool, Wantlet is definitely a bottom-of-the-funnel offering, designed to motivate a more or less immediate purchase or visit from a customer. You’re reaching a group of people who have largely decided what they want to buy, at least on a category level.

By juxtaposing your message with all of the word of mouth dialogue taking place on a listing, Wantlet hopes to provide tremendous value to marketers anxious to capture and realize more potential sales. The appeal here is strongest for retail oriented businesses, though it’s easy to see how brand marketers could leverage this platform for their needs as well.

The company is more active in Europe at the moment, but North American people and brands can also participate, and the activity level in our region is sure to increase as the company gains more awareness.

Thanks to ad:tech for publishing this first.

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