For many of us, shopping is about desire and the quest for products to fall in love with. Wanelo released the third version of its mobile application today to make online shopping a pleasurable and personal experience “for everyone.”
Wanelo is a social shopping app that has a community of eight million dedicated users. People collect items that they “want, need, or love” to save and share on their profile, so it’s similar to Pinterest. Unlike Pinterest, Wanelo is intended to drive e-commerce. Clicking an image prompts you to save the item or redirects you where you can buy it. You can follow brands, designers, and stores that you love as well as other Wanelo community members (or build up a following of your own).
This makes Wanelo is a potential goldmine for things like kitschy home goods and inexpensive, on-trend apparel.
“E-commerce is exploding, yet the market has remained primitive,” said founder Deena Varshavskaya in an interview. “We make sense of the world through the people around us, and we have a social network for every basic human need except shopping. When we look at a piece of content, we want to know who created it, who likes or hates it, who uses it, and so on.
“That’s what Wanelo is building.”
Rather than ad-retargeting or recommendation engines, Wanelo uses social networking to find products you may like. Every member has an activity feed, and last year Wanelo introduced a trending feature that reigned in its “first wave of success.” The latest version puts the personalized feed at the forefront of the user experience, so opening up Wanelo instantly provides a variety of products from sources curated by the user, making it “even more dangerous for getting lost.”
The system includes products from over 200,000 stores, including major retailers like Urban Outiftters and Nasty Gal as well as small independent shops like Etsy sellers. The more stores and people you follow, the “smarter” your feed gets. Users are spending an average of 50 minutes per day on Wanelo, and over five million products are saved eight million times a day.
At a recent media dinner that Wanelo hosted, the company’s investors spoke about how significant the traction, growth, and levels of engagement are for the startup, but also for the world of e-commerce. Varshavskaya said Wanelo’s mission is to “democratize and transform the world’s commerce by reorganizing shopping around people.”
There are millions upon millions of products for sale on the Internet and they are difficult to search through. Wanelo is building a “meta-layer” on top of e-commerce to improve the process of finding stuff to want, need, and love. Wanelo’s investors, which include Floodgate, First Round Capital, Naval Ravikant of Angel List, and Forerunner Ventures, see this as the future of shopping.
Wanelo is based in San Francisco and has raised $3 million.
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