Fancy is one of my personal favorite social networks and one of my favorite online shopping grounds. Like a powerful hybrid of Pinterest and eBay, Fancy allows its users to browse, e-collect, and purchase their favorite anythings from destination vacations to luxury pet accessories. Seriously, this site has every anything you can imagine; within a single swoop of the scroll you’ll go from vintage Hermes to glow-in-the-dark bocce ball equipment to Ghost-It Sticky Notes (don’t use your imagination, just go.)
Brief backstory. The definition and purpose of Web 2.0 is the emphasis of online collaboration and user sharing, a second generation of Internet based services that exceed those originally launched (if I may be so generous with the term) by the National Science Foundation in 1969. Since its birth, the Internet has been on a gradual upswing of user integration. In 1993, Tim Berners-Lee developed the first web browser for widespread use, not just academic and military, that brought us to Mosaic, Netscape, and ultimately a a big crash in a matter of years. Here we are now in 2013, thriving in the digital age of mass customization, one-to-one marketing, and personal media. The supreme Internet powers-that-be have been nothing but undone, overthrown by individuals, allowing for a far more decentralized landscape. How this notion is demonstrated may be seen through the principles of modern Internet marketing, where it’s no longer about packaging a brand but instead cultivating and maintaining relationships and responding to personal needs and demands.
Enter Fancy, created and owned by Joseph Einhorn. Characterized by user-generated content, social networking, collaboration, and empowered individuals, its part virtual merchant/part community business model is exemplary for innovative Internet marketing. One area in which Fancy truly stands out is sales. The company endorses no advertisements but instead makes a profit by featuring and selling different merchants’ products; users will “fancy” goods of appeal (suggesting a product’s demand), the merchant settles on a price, and Fancy is entitled to a cut of the deal. Fancy isn’t the supreme governing body, however, as users are welcome to upload their own fancies. It wouldn’t be a website of today without open commentary, and Fancy feasters get active when fortune cookie making kits are at stake. The company keeps track of your personal preferences including products fancied, products purchased, user connections, and your most popular categories and lists. Like other popular web stores, Fancy uses this information to help recommend products for you. Yes, you. Mass customization and one-to-one marketing: one-two punch. Furthermore, Fancy rewards loyalty, and those rewards add up. Users can unlock badges for fancying products and are prompted to visit the brand’s site to peruse and redeem, a dynamic way to have traffic redirected (read, everybody wins.)
Users also earn Fancy credit for inviting their friends to partake and for sharing sale items on their unique social media profiles – not just Facebook and Twitter either, a multitude of channels are available that may pertain to your interests or industries (personal media: check.) If all of this isn’t enough to convince you, Fancy functions as a subscription service with its Fancy Box, a monthly package of treats selected for you, and sometimes by you. I’ve been a subscriber since its launch and have been pleasantly surprised by a Hello sweatshirt, rice krispie treats, chrome nail polish, polar bear snow globe salt and pepper shaker sets, and dozens of other adorable nonsensibles that make my world a little more diverting and stylized. Fancy has upped the price to $45 since its existence, but the increase in quality and quantity of stuff is considerable. For original users such as yours truly, the price remains $30, which will keep me committed until I have a duplicate Super Mario chess set.
Fancy also sent me this little number. How does it know? How oh how does it always know? Oh, that’s right. Me. That’s how.