Redmond, Washington -- Just as the holiday season begins, shoppers are expected to spend $38.5 billion online this year, and there is a good chance they will want to consult with friends and family before making purchases. Microsoft has just updated its Bing Shopping Search with the ability to create shopping lists and share them with your family and friends on Facebook.
Bing's shopping list feature empowers consumers to obtain friends' opinion before they buy, and marketers may like how this sharing feature could boost awareness of their brands. For instance, consumers can select items they are thinking about buying, add them to a list, and post that list to their Facebook Wall from Bing, and ask their friends what they should buy.
The company announced the shopping list tool in its blog. In an explanatory video below, it says the shopping list module understands that consumers "use social networks when making decisions about buying products."
"We have taken this concept that you make decisions online using your social network," Bing says. "And we said how can we take that experience....and make it part of the core search experience that you can use to get stuff done faster."
With Bing Shopping, users can search, compare price, and now the option to "Add to List". When you add an item to your shopping list, the list module will appear on the bottom left of your screen displaying all of your selected products, where you can easily view the products that interest you and let you share with your friends and family via Facebook.
Once you share it and go to your Facebook Wall, it is considered as any other shared link on Facebook, and you can add additional messages, such as, "Would you go with the Jordans or the Reebok Pumps?" or "Which Xbox should I get?"
"Now you can enlist the help of your favorite gadget geek," says Bing. "Give your friends and family a nudge by publishing a wish-list to your Facebook Wall."
The product formulated on Bing's longstanding alliance with Facebook, which powers search result recommendations according to the Likes of users' Facebook friends. This means Facebook Likes influence clicks among Bing's monthly 1.9 billion searches, and now they may impact purchase decisions.
This is just one of the latest in a continuing trend of social media features added to search. The shopping list module aims to help people decide between similar product offerings based on their friends' advice, so marketers may want to appeal to social users to win brand loyalty this holiday season.
Bing is smart to take advantage of Facebook data in different ways, and we will no doubt see more integrations as time goes on. Google can not get the kind of bliss Bing has, and it refuses to go the Facebook Connect/social plug-in route that a substantial portion of the web including Myspace has embraced.
Bing and Facebook are two of the biggest competitors Google has, and the more they work together, the more Google has to worry about. Bing will be rolling out the feature starting today and should be available to all users in the next few days. The feature is currently only available in the US.