Today Wanelo, the online platform that lets people discover and share things they “want, need, and love,” issued an update to its iOS app that brings two handy new features, search and “stories,” to its mobile shopping experience. In general, Wanelo has emerged as a powerful player in the social shopping place since it launched back in 2010 — I’m told that Wanelo’s user count just passed the 10 million mark, which reflects nearly 70 percent growth in the past five months alone. The app’s core demographic, young fashion-savvy females, is certainly one of the most lucrative target markets out there — which may be why more than 200,000 stores have added their products to the Wanelo platform.
Shopping online is easier than shopping in a mall — as long as you know exactly what you want to buy. The problem comes when you don’t know what you want.
As a new generation of social media-savvy shoppers come of age, retailers and e-commerce sites need to think about how they’re adapting to new standards. Wanelo is a San Francisco startup that’s riding those waves.
In 2010, product designer Deena Varshavskaya noticed a gaping hole in the vast, beautiful vortex of Internet shopping: There was no cohesive social experience. While fashion addicts today have online pin boards to cull together latest dream finds or sites that help burgeoning stylists assemble ideal outfits for every mood onto a personalized space, Varshavskaya hoped to inject the shopping experience with more interactivity. "Once I realized that there was a need (I wanted to see what my friends shop for), it became obvious that there was an opportunity to create a really strong social experience that's focused on shopping," Varshavskaya told the Cut. She designed Wanelo (a portmanteau of the words "Want, Need, Love"), as a site that would merge store, products, and people.
If anything on the Internet is like a mall right now, it’s social shopping site Wanelo. Call it the Pinterest for products or the Twitter for products or the whatever for products, the platform is starting to leave “X for X” territory and become its own thing like Madonna or Beyoncé. Search Twitter for Wanelo and you get stuff like this.
Wanelo founder and CEO Deena Varshavskaya seems kind of obsessed with Squishables. They’re spherical stuffed animals that come in varieties like narwhal, owl and panda. She pulls out her purse so she can show off her latest tiny plush find. They’re the new Beanie Babies, she says, and everyone should buy one right now.
While a number of startups are trying to build the next broad e-commerce startup, many successes have been vertical sites. Zappos, Diapers.com and more recently, Zulily, One Kings Lane and Fab.com have grown quickly. A new startup, Wanelo, is taking a different approach to e-commerce with its social shopping service. The company has built a very viral social website and mobile app for people to save, share and talk about products. And it has built-in monetization options.
The upsides to shopping online are plentiful — skipping long checkout lines and avoiding stuffy dressing rooms, to name two. But the downside is that unless you know exactly what you’re shopping for, it can be challenging to find great new things to put in your cart.
Fashion Tumblrs, Pinterest and Lookbook.nu, a street photography site, are certainly adept at displaying dreamy and sumptuous pictures of items you might want to buy. But more often than not, there is no information about how to purchase an item — or even where it is from.
Enter Wanelo a start-up based in San Francisco that has the same aesthetic as those sites, and one important difference: clicking on an image takes you directly to the place where it’s available for sale — not another blog, image site or Pinterest post. Wanelo (the name is a combination of want, need and love) lets people share items, like articles of clothing, home furnishings, beauty accessories and makeup products, for their friends and followers to see. And they can browse others’ items, comment on them and share them with friends. Brands and companies like Anthropologie, REI and even the Apple repair shop Tekserve can create their own collections of items for online window shoppers.
Shopping for the next e-commerce hit, investors have spent $2 million on budding startup Wanelo, an online shopping community where regular people share their uncommon finds. Wanelo, a blend of the words "want, need, love," is a combination of product-inspiration and social shopping sites such as Pinterest, Fancy, and Polyvore, and is meant to be a store curated by users.
Received $2M Venture Round Funding
Participation FLOODGATE, First Round Capital, Naval Ravikant, Forerunner Ventures, Roger Dickey, Aayush Phumbhra
Silicon Valley Uncovered: Wanelo