Last month, I was lucky enough to receive an invitation for VIP, prelaunch access to new website fantasyshopper.com, warned from the outset that it was addictive…
Addiction was an understatement. It compromised all my moments of procrastination yet I couldn’t seem to begrudge the time lost. Fantasy Shopper is a cross between a social game and a shopping utility that you can access through your Facebook account. Images of high-street apparel are formatted like true-to-life online shopping outlets. Fantasy Shoppers are given a ‘payday’ with virtual money each hour to spend on the items they collect in their Fantasy Shopping ‘basket’.
Twice a day, Fantasy Shopper posts fictional themed ‘events’ to enable users to create suitable outfits with their purchases-as they would in real life. There are also user badges to collect as their wardrobe expands. One of the best things about Fantasy Shopper is that you can befriend fellow shoppers, ‘like’ each other’s outfits and create and share new ones for other users. It is great to see that it really encourages supportive comments and a unity amongst players as opposed to the competition commonly associated with ‘girl world.’ Move over The Sims this is all day in the dressing rooms, choosing, matching, buying, outfit-making, refunding, pure virtual indulgence.
Fantasy Shopper CEO and visionary Chris Prescott is arguably the sites biggest fan. He was kind enough to share some insight on behind the scenes at fantasyshopper.com and that initial ‘light bulb’ moment.
He said: ‘Fantasy Shopper started off as an idea but after hundreds of hours of sleepless nights, brainstorming, researching and discussing, it slowly grew into a vision, something the whole team now shares.’
Chris toyed with similar ideas a while ago but technology of the time could not support the concept. Last year in his sleep, the vision of Fantasy Shopper came to him.
‘At that moment,’ he said, ‘Fantasy Shopper was born and I shot out of bed, went to WHSmiths, bought a big pad of A3 paper and spent literally the next 8 hours in a coffee shop sketching out Fantasy Shopper.’
As students, most of us can understand that when you spend those pretty pennies you want to be satisfied with the purchase. Perhaps a compliment or the subtle flattery of your copy-cat best friend. Fantasy Shopper supports the assumption that we have a human instinct to gain approval from purchase decisions. Fantasy Shopper embodies a concept which Chris calls ‘pre-purchase validation.’
He said: ‘The idea is that people now go Fantasy Shopping before they go shopping in the real world, allowing them to get feedback on the stuff they’re thinking about buying before they actually buy it.’
The passion and dedication of the Fantasy Shopper team towards building a well functioning and extremely popular website is testament to the success it has had within just one month of launching.
Industry professionals have since declared their love for the site with a feature in this month’s Grazia Magazine and a recent Katy Perry Fantasy Shopper ‘event’ sponsored by More! magazine.
Last week, the website also overcame serious competition to come up trumps as global ‘Amazon Web Start-up Challenge’ winner in California, USA.
‘At Fantasy Shopper, we work by the mantra ‘get sh*t done.’ It’s easy to spend time talking about ideas and other stuff, but if you don’t have a product, everything else is irrelevant.
‘The vision isn’t something we can really put our fingers on, but as a team we know it’s there as we can feel the magic happening every day. We still have those original sketches up on the wall in our office for inspiration.’
Find them on twitter @FantasyShopper and at www.fantasyshopper.com.