Archive for August, 2011

Faster Recommendations, Retrieving Hidden Stories, Cliques for (almost) Everyone

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

By Yvonne French, Product Manager at Sears Social

Improving Our Speed…

We try to be good listeners here at Sears Social – when you tell us about the things you own, want or are generally interested in, we take note and then seek out more stuff you’ll enjoy (and we’ve got a lot of stuff!).
Recently, we challenged ourselves to do this even faster, so we now proudly unveil our lightning-quick (almost) recommendations. Try it out – tell us about a product you own, like or want and immediately see recommended products in your newsfeed.

…and Memory

Although we listen well, we’ve been forgetful at times… like that time we recommended a product you already told us you liked or owned? Well, no more! Starting this week, you’ll no longer see recommendations in your newsfeed for products you’ve previously interacted with. Whew, what a relief!

That’s Sooo Yesterday

Love those newsfeed stories about top-selling products? Under-whelmed when you see the same top-selling product 2 days in a row? Yup, we fixed that too!

Now, Where Did I Put That…?

You know that anxious feeling you get when something is missing and you just cannot remember where you’ve put it? Rest assured that this will never again happen in your Sears Social newsfeed because we’ve added an “undo” option for stories you’ve just hidden. Not only do we help you find hidden stories, we even tell you when stories are missing from your feed because of “hide” filters you previously selected. You can see and manage your hide filters on the Recent Activity Filters tab on your Settings page.

We wish we could offer you a similar solution for missing socks, keys and homework!

Knitter, Baker, Sleeper, Sailor…

If your passion is creating works of art from wood, yarn or even food, you’re in luck! We’ve got 6 new cliques where creative types can hang out and share ideas.

And, adding to our eclectic mix, this week we also launched cliques for lovers of animals, water, the news and all things sleep-related.

We’re not done yet… watch out for more cliques coming your way soon!

Guiding you through your path to glory; Helping you stay up-to-date with the crowd.

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

By Gil Ninveh, Product Manager at Sears Social

Notice: Staying with the crowd will not necessarily bring you glory. But hey, everybody likes to know what’s happening…

Your Path to Glory (AKA: Badges Finally Explained…)

So you probably already know that we like surprises. However, we just couldn’t keep the badges as a secret any more. Although we saw that teasing you about it is indeed fun, this week we decided to finally share with you the detailed map of how to get ALL the (current) Sears Social Badges. Simply click the “Badges” link on the left navigation pane of your profile to get the full list of badges, as well as what you can do in order to unlock them (Please make sure you are sitting down with a glass of water nearby just in case…).

Note: I blurred the holy map on purpose, couldn’t help not to tease you one last time…

Suggested Routes on Your Glorious Path

To make it easier for you to find out what you can do on our site (there are so many things you can do here!), we launched a new helpful box which is now located on the right column of your home page (after logging in of course). This box will suggest activities for you based on your previous activities on Sears Social.

I feel comfortable knowing that you now have a map and a set of tips for you to start your journey 🙂

The Crowd is Trending the Web

Isn’t it nice to always know what the rest of the world is talking about? Since our community is still growing, we figured it would be nice for you to know what the crowd is doing outside the walls of our cozy community. So please welcome the new Story Type in your feed: “Now trending on the web”. These stories will keep you informed about what users are engaging with on the world wide web.

Even More Cliques

Yeah, yeah… more cliques arrived. Here is a short summary:

Go ahead; you can start joining.

P.S. Stay tuned for more cliques coming soon…

Colorful Cart, Cool Cliques, Centralized Connectivity and Community Collaboration

Monday, August 15th, 2011

By Avishay Lavie, Software Engineer at Sears Social

Today’s post title is brought to you by the letter “C”.

The Myriad Colors and Shapes

“Add to Cart”. It sounds easy enough: you go to a product page, click the big shiny button, and you’re pretty much done, right? Well, for most products, yes. But then there are other products which require special handling. You can’t just go to their product page and add them to your cart; no, if you want to get one of these, you’ll have to make some tough choices.

This release adds support for product variations, meaning you can select the size, color, fit and other attributes of a product before adding it to your shopping cart. A multitude of new options for you to choose from.

“But”, you say, “I can’t make up my mind! Which one should I get?”

That’s easy: just buy them all.

Truly-Single-Single-Sign-On

We’ve added Single-Sign-On for Sears sites a while ago, but we couldn’t really call it “single sign on” in clear conscience, since you had to sign in to Sears Social even if you were already signed in to one of the other sites, which definitely sounds like Double-Sign-On if you think about it.

Well, not anymore! Now, with “truly-single-single-sign-on”, once you’ve signed in to any of the supported websites, you’ll automatically be signed in to Sears Social.

That’s one less click for you, which means one more click that can be used to add another product to one of your catalogs (actually, that’s more like three clicks, but we reckon the ones you save from not having to sign in will add up nicely). Use it wisely!

But Wait, There’s More!

That’s not all! If you’re a Sears.com user who’s never been to Sears Social, you just got lucky, because starting with this release we’re giving away free personalized promotions! When you first visit Sears Social, we’ll analyze your Sears.com history and come up with personalized promotions based on the kind of products you’ve looked at in the past. These will be included in your personal newsfeed starting from your first sign-in, for no extra charge!

Actually, we never charge anything for using Sears Social so that last part isn’t very exciting. Let’s focus on the part where we give you personalized recommendations without you having to do anything! That’s pretty sweet, I think you’ll agree. This offer is currently only available to new users, but we’ll soon extend it to cover existing users as well, so if you’re already a Sears Social user, just sit tight and we’ll get to you real soon.

More cliques

Our family of cliques is growing, with three new cliques added in this release. This was a good opportunity to redesign some of the existing clique icons. Here they are in all their glory – can you spot the new ones?

Hint: we never had any clique icon with a mustache. Or a suitcase. And I’m pretty sure none of the previous clique icons were a monkey.

Community-Added Products

You already know you can import products into Sears Social from anywhere else on the web (if you don’t, go check it out: it’s awesome). However, it’s not always clear which products are offered by Sears Social or one of our partners, and which have been added by your fellow shoppers.

This release makes things a little easier by clearly labeling such products as “community added”, so you can instantly recognize them and regard them with the appropriate amount of careful suspicion. You’re welcome.

Help the Community, Unlock Badges Faster

Friday, August 5th, 2011

By Avishay Lavie, Software Engineer at Sears Social

Disclaimer: The title for this post mentions the two features I’m about describe, but definitely does not imply the two are related in any way.  You can still unlock badges faster even if you don’t help the community. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Badge Teasers

You probably know that you can unlock badges in Sears Social by doing all kind of things. What you may not know is what exactly you need to do to get a badge, because up until now, we only told you about the badge after you unlocked it.

Well, we figured we could be a little more flexible and tell you about the badge a short while before you actually unlock it, just to get your appetite going. So now, whenever you’re close enough to unlocking a badge, we’ll tease you about it by showing you something like this:

Just 2 reviews away! How could you possibly not write those right this instant? I mean, this post will still be here after you do, you know. You could practically unlock the badge and be back here in a few minutes and no one would notice.

Wait! Before you go, I just wanted to tell you about the graphical redesign of the badges that we also did as part of this new feature. There, I said it, soyou can go unlock your new badges now.

Scratch the Community’s Back and It Will Scratch Yours

Talking about reviews, do you remember our “Help the Community” program? In this release we added another “help the community” story, which will politely ask you to write a review on an item you own, thus helping other users make an informed decision about it… and maybe finally getting that gold “Top Reviewer” badge.

“Helping the community is great”, we hear you thinking, “but what’s in it for me?” Ah, great question. The simple answer is that you are also part of the community! By this we mean that helping the community also helps you as a person, and that helping a fellow social user is its own reward, and all that. And if you need something more tangible, we also have this: the “help the community” program will sometimes show you a new review of a product you want, just to make a point about how the community benefits everyone. If you’re an English lit major, you can appreciate the sweet role-reversal going on here. If not, just enjoy the review.