VP of Social Product / eBay / San Jose
Problem: People are likelier to purchase something if their friends weigh in—but that's not easy to do on massive e-commerce sites.
Solution: EBay's new browser plug-in, Help Me Shop, lets users shop anywhere on the web and drag items into a separate window. Through Facebook, the user invites friends to give advice on the items they like best.
"As we spoke with our customers and really started analyzing their activity, we discovered that what they were doing was shopping in a social product life cycle: Things start out around inspiration and research—something that a friend shared with them, or something that an influencer had shared with them, whether it was on Twitter, Polyvore, Pinterest, or Svpply. They continue to connect with friends all the way to the point of purchase. And after the purchase, they can be a resource for other people shopping for the product. What makes Help Me Shop really powerful is that it goes beyond eBay's inventory. It's really about a social shopping experience that goes wherever I am and allows me to engage my friends in the shopping experience whenever I think it's useful."
A version of this article appeared in the May 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.