Buying a product is not an easy task which I felt while buying my new mobile. With a limited budget, I also wanted to have the best features so either I had the choice of reading scores of tech reviews or ask bloggers for an unbiased opinion. Thankfully, I knew some who helped me make the right purchase decision but that took long. I would prefer a better approach in this information loaded age where the user has less patience!
In comes the startup Blonkr that promises to enhance sharing and buying experiences of users with the help of social media. Simply put, Blonkr helps you in making purchase decisions with the help of friends whom you know or trust because of similar interests and knowledge.
For now Blonkr allows only Facebook login, so once the authentication process is over, you are asked to select a few of the listed interests. Based on the interests, Blonkr will populate similar items on your home page as a feed. I selected few interests like mobile under Gadget Guru, biographies under Avid Reader and landed up on the home which is more like a feed of products. The below screen grab gives you a quick look of the home feed.
The items listed are displayed in the card design layout according to your interests selected earlier. By default Blonkr shows you the feed based on “Recent trends by all blonkrs” but by hovering on it, you can sort and make it according to your choice. Like I did by sorting the feed to show only popular trends from all blonkrs on the platform.
Product discovery on interests
Browsing through the listed products, I clicked on the biography of God – Sachin Tendulkar. On click you are provided more details about the product such as the description of the book and listed seller in my case. Since the book had no listed seller a user can recommend a seller too. Beyond this a user can blonk the listing or like it, check out who has owned the book in your connections and any scrap left on the product. If required a user can start conversations over the product that one is interested in; if there are no friends to help then one can start a poll regarding the product. The poll helps when you want to get an opinion on multiple products from your friends.
Sachin’s biography has fewer takers so I clicked on another product – Nokia Lumia 800. The product featured its specifications but failed to have any seller. This might be since the product is still in beta and right now gradually getting user traction as well as market adoption too. Blonkr also displays friends who own the product if I need their opinion in decision making. For obvious reasons I didn’t find any takers for the Windows phone.
Building network on interests
However, there are some users on Blonkr who own a Nokia Lumia but have no connection with me. Nevertheless, the platform provides a way of connecting with other users. Like I connected with one of the user on Blonkr and it allowed me to find the activities performed by the user along with interests that he is subscribed to. If you like the user for his information, you can rate him as an influencer on a certain domain. In other words, you are forming a network of known people and others based on their knowledge that will help you in making purchase decisions.
To increase my product choices, I clicked on Explore which gives the entire set of listed interests. One can click on other interests, search on filters, browse them and later on also subscribe to them. The product also has an intelligent search which pulled up the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. The book has been a worthy buy, so I endorsed it. This would help others in forming their own opinion but if I was not happy then leaving a scrap would inform my connections on Blonkr. Finally if you are excited to talk about the product then you can but this is limited to your set of connections. Makes sense since Blonkr is all about following or connecting people based on interests.
Along with Notifications, you can click on your profile and find out a complete snapshot of your activities on Blonkr. The below screen grab gives you a quick look of my activities on Blonkr.
Can Blonkr be the one?
Blonkr has focused on interests and based on it, has tried controlling the activities of the users. Makes perfect sense for a platform that helps to make product decisions within the social circuit. So right now Blonkr does the job without too many glitches.
The site has chosen the card design layout which is the most preferred design by all product startups these days. The design is simple and is easy to understand. However, the load time of different features on the platform is a bit slow and could be improved upon.
The problem that the founders of Blonkr are trying to solve i.e ‘social discovery’ is already being tested by startups like Wooplr, Clipr, Klip, etc. Wooplr, a Bangalore based startup, allows you to do social discovery on your interests but right now it is targeting women. Similarly there is Clipr an online recommendation platform for window shopping and gift recommendations. Clipr crawls through your Facebook Graph and recommends you products that you may like to buy, gift your friends and earn rewards for performing such activities. Besides this there is Klip, Mumbai based startup that started from wish listing and now it is a social recommendation and commerce platform that now wants to focus on the lifestyle market.
Nevertheless, Blonkr is a smart product and has interesting simple features that might pull me to use it. And with more user traction the social recommendation product will become only get smarter.