The group includes social startups like Wanelo, a uniquely searchlike experience for “all stores in one place,” and OpenSky, which combines the microblogging feel of a Twitter with the slightly more visceral look of a Pinterest.
According to OpenSky CEO John Caplan, who spoke at the National Retail Federation’s Shop.org summit in Chicago yesterday, his company would be the end result if “eBay and Facebook had a baby.”
These new merchant-to-consumer models have the potential to disrupt traditional commerce distribution. “What we’ve worked on solving is, ‘How do you leverage your massive following to have a conversation with consumers and [gather] editorial content around a group of products?'” remarked Deena Varshavskaya, CEO of Wanelo.
Wanelo's 10 million-plus users have posted 8 million product pictures from more than 200,000 brands and stores through “stories.” Consumers can click to purchase from the brand directly and save items for later on their profile pages. This gives the platform a key strength along the lines of what Pinterest has begun to commercialize – intent.