DecisionStep expands customer base or shopping social networking technology
Shopping online can be efficient and convenient -- but it's not generally social.
One local company is trying to change that, offering Web applications that allow shoppers to see what their friends are buying and to get advice from store experts.
Beltsville-based DecisionStep, founded in 2000, recently announced it has taken on several new customers: the cosmetics companies with the Clinique and Jane Iredale brands and costume retailer Costume Craze.
The company already has more than a dozen clients, including Mattel and Charlotte Russe.
DecisionStep has developed ShopTogether, a suite of three different applications. ShopTogether Friends allows online customers to use e-mail or social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to see what their friends are buying from a site and collect items they both like.
Through ShopTogether Concierge, online shoppers can get advice from customer support representatives, and ShopTogether Crowd allows real-time views of what others on the site are buying.
The technology seeks to make shopping more fun and interactive for consumers but also increases the amount of time and money shoppers spend on a site, according to John Jackson, the company's chief executive.
He said DecisionStep's clients tend to be companies that appeal to a younger demographic, offer items that require joint decisions or sell products for which shoppers feel they need advice, Jackson said.
DecisionStep also has announced that ShopTogether will be iPad-compatible, starting with Costume Craze and then spreading to the company's other customers.