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Fab Goes Hard On Social, Integrating Deeper with Facebook

The design-savvy site attempts to replicate the real-world "shop with friends" experience.
screen shot 2012 05 11 at 10 07 26 am Fab Goes Hard On Social, Integrating Deeper with Facebook

A glimpse at the changes. (Courtesy Fab.com)

Fab.com got its latest revamp this morning, introducing a host of snazzy new social features. We hope your Facebook friends have good taste.

Fab CEO Jason Goldberg walked us through the changes via phone, boiling them down to improving the product discovery experience. Though the site adds new features regularly, the changes going live today are the first big revamp in “quite a decent amount of time,” says Mr. Goldberg. “There’s a hundred-plus new enhancements.” He explained that it’s all “about how do you help people discover stuff better than just throwing up a catalog.”

And the organizing principle is social. The site, though just under a year old, is currently north of 4 million members, with 3.5 million in the U.S. and almost a million elsewhere. A big part of that growth is thanks to social. The site gets more than 50 percent of new users through social sharing, of which Facebook is a large part. “On any given day, we have upwards of 30 to 40 percent of our traffic coming from Facebook a day,” Mr. Goldberg told us.

Mr. Goldberg also told us that 15 percent of visits to Fab live feed–which shows what every Fab user is up to, not just one’s friends–result in a purchase.

Add those details up and you get a “friends” tab on the feed. So the site is “enabling people to see not just what is all of Fab liking today, but what are my friends liking? What are my friends buying?” explained Mr. Goldberg.

They’re also integrating deeper with Pinterset, having seen 2 percent of traffic coming from the hot new social network. They’re working on ways to “foster” people’s pinning of favorite products, i.e. making it possible to pin products directly from the live feed. (Currently that’s just an option on items that pop up in the live feed because someone has already pinned them.)

All that said, members can choose what types of purchases they’d prefer to keep private, and the site shields things like gifts and adult purchases by default. But you might want to double-check your settings, lest your mom see that luxury vibrator purchase.

Mr. Goldberg made ambitious claims for the new features: “We really feel like we’re the first ones to be able to successfully almost replicate the experience people have when they go shopping with their friends in the physical world.” Fab isn’t the only ecommerce company chasing that particular pot of gold, and thus far it’s proved rather tough to locate. “That’s hard to do online,” he admits, “but we think we’re coming a lot closer to that.”

Besides the addition of the “friends” tab, members can now buy directly from the feed, as well as sorting by category (so if I want housewares, I can skip the jewelry) and they’ll be able to see what’s trending. The home page now includes search functionality, and they’ll be showcasing designers using “smile” pages.

“We’re bringing a whole lot of color and innovation to the otherwise pretty boring world of ecommerce,” said Mr. Goldberg. Bold words, sir. Bold words.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com