It's that time of year when those pangs of stress about what to give family and friends for Christmas begin to seep into your life intermittently. Sure, for us parents, there are those wish lists that our kids hand us, with at least one out of 10 in the affordable range. And, there's the occasional dropped hints. But now there's another way to know what to give friends and loved ones.
Walmart launched late Wednesday Shopycat, a new Facebook app that makes gift recommendations for your friends.
"The giving process is very inefficient," said Anand Rajaraman, senior vice president at Walmart Global Commerce and co-founder of @WalmartLabs, in an interview. "We made Shopycat to make gift-giving more fun."
Shopycat is pretty simple to use. Just download it from Facebook by going to the Walmart Facebook fan page, which currently has nearly 11 million fans.
The home screen will show you all of your closest friends and people you've had the most interaction with, said Ravi Raj, vice president of product at @WalmartLabs, in an interview while giving me a demo.
Shopycat can see all of your friends' interests, from likes to posts to anything they share. Shopycat then uses "social genome technology" to analyze your friends' interests and activities. The interests are then married with products. At the moment, Shopycat has more than 600,000 items to choose from Walmart as well as Barnes and Noble, NBC Universal, Red Envelope and about 20 retailers altogether. Shopycat then surfaces "giftable products," said Rajaraman.
For instance, if a friend posts something about baseball (see above image as example), Shopycat wil show you items that are baseball related. Your friends won't have to be a member of Shopycat.
"Our goal is to build a gifting experience for our users," said Rajaraman. "We hope that some fraction of the gifts given will be from Walmart."