New Media Tech Part 3: WANELO - A Retail Social Hub

WANELO is short for WAnt, NEed, LOve and is a social platform designed to convert interest, passion and community into retail sales. Founded by Deena Varshavskaya in 2010, Wanelo is the next major social platform where consumers are flocking and businesses are following. All marketers and retailers targeting women who purchase fashion, home goods, accessories, jewelry and much more need to follow and activate Wanelo. Agencies engaged in social media will need to add Wanelo executives to their relationships. Media companies that target women's passions and interests are already incorporating Wanelo into editorial content and marketing tie-ins.

Wanelo promotes that "you can buy almost everything you see on Wanelo, and everything is posted by users." While Wanelo describes itself as "a community for all of the world's shopping," it also promotes that its "unfettered by advertising." Once again, marketers and agencies need to reinvent their online initiatives to conform to a completely new marketplace or fear eventual loss in market share. Wanelo investors include Floodgate Capital, Forerunner Ventures, First Round Capital and Naval Ravikant of AngelList.

At Wanelo, users create favorite product posts and share them on Wanelo, linking each product to the retail page where the product may be purchased. Stores are then able to create a store page and claim any of their products they see posted by users who are posting their products. Stores are verified by Wanelo administrators to make sure they are validly claiming their products and leading users to the correct place. The more than 200,000 stores range from brick-and-mortar retail businesses to Etsy shops.

Users may post their favorite products, find products for their wish list and share stories about product collections. Each unique product is posted by a specific user and continues to direct viewers to that person's page even when shared by others. This means that users originally posting unique products will gain more followers.

Stories created by users tie a certain group of posted products together. This is a way for users or stores to advertise products much like a retail store would display them in a collection. Items from the same store or multiple stores are brought together into a themed inspiration board. Each item shared leads back to its original retail source so that any user may purchase the products they love. Unlike Pinterest, the goal of Wanelo is directed toward a desire for retail finds rather than DIY projects.

Wanelo appeals to a consumer's desire to be inspired. To date, over 35 million collections of items have been shared by users to their followers. It's easy to believe Wanelo is emerging as the next break-out social platform based on its audience profile: 90 percent of users are female and 60 percent of them are 24 and under.

Wanelo is capable of engaging a large target audience of consumers prepared to buy a product. This means, unlike Instagram, Pinterest or other social media sites focused on the social part, Wanelo is focused on the business part, providing the easy out - a direct link to purchase the product, often connecting users with businesses they have not previously shopped at. Wanelo sends all product referrals through VigLink so it can get a cut of sales. "On other platforms, buying products is not the intent, so users may feel exploited," Varshavskaya commented to All Things D. "On our site, we get overt complaints when people post blog links [instead of direct links to products]."

Reducing Clutter

Wanelo goes one extra step towards retail structure by keeping redundant posts from occurring. To post a product, users first enter the page where the product is sold. If this coincides with a previous post, then Wanelo notifies the user and allows them to repost the product they are adding, rather than creating a unique post. This keeps products down to singular posts for each store and avoids the clutter of multiple replicated posts like those found on Pinterest

Wanelo is focused on unique items and a vast selection of choices. With the widespread availability of products and stores, Wanelo works to bring customers and retailers together in one inspiring place. Users may follow other users or specific stores.

Growing Stages

Despite the more than 9.5 million products shared on Wanelo, the company is still in its early stages of growth. The Wanelo Facebook page has over 174 thousand likes and their Twitter page has over 48 thousand followers.

According to the company, "Wanelo's growth has been tremendous since the re-launch last summer, and it really hit a new level when the iOS app started catching on in November. Now that app is often the #1 app in the App Store's Lifestyle category, and we've managed to stay in the top 50 or so free apps overall lately. The Android app is also seeing solid growth. Meanwhile, store owners and retailers are beginning to help spread Wanelo even further."

With an updated version of Wanelo and growing consumer response, Wanelo is also emerging as the next super-hot social platform among marketers.

NEXT

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Jack Myers

Jack Myers, author of The Future of Men: Masculinity in the Twenty-First Century, is a recognized cultural visionary, award-winning documentary film producer, advisor to hundreds of leading corporations on media and technology trends, and founder of&n... read more