Who Svpply is competing with, sort of.
I thought it’d be interesting to share some thoughts about the competitive landscape we’re in.
This topic is of particular interest to me personally because when we launched Svpply, there was nothing else like it out there. When we launched Svpply, there were no shopping services that encouraged you to ignore the act of buying and to instead get lost in the visual joy of the hunt. There were no services that held the shopping behavior of its members under a lens and passively encouraged them to hold their interests up to a higher standard. Most importantly, there were no sites out there where your primary shopping experience was defined by the interests of your peers.
But now there are a bunch of competitors on our horizon, and it is fascinating to watch them grow:
Pinterest has been around for a while, and they’re fantastic. The community they’ve built seems rock-solid, and we’re still trying to catch up with some of their features. They’re growing at an incredible clip, and I don’t understand why they don’t get more press.
I’m not worried about them as competitors because (a) They’ve locked themselves into a niche community of 22-35yr old women who enjoy using it as a scrapbooking service. Since they are a site (like us) whose sole content is the behavior of its members, it’s going to be very difficult for them to grow beyond puppies and photos of Ryan Gosling. Which isn’t a knock, its just not what we’re after. (b) Pinterest accepts all kinds of content, not just products. I believe that shopping is as much an emotional state as it is a set of functional parameters, and I don’t believe you can build a compelling shopping experience without building the experience and expectation into its bones.
I don’t have much to say about The Fancy because I have yet to see them do anything interesting. I see them looking to the market for cues on what to do next, whether it be Foursquare-style badges, Dribbble-style design, or Svpply-style mechanics. I don’t get the impression that they know what they’re trying to build.
From what I understand, Lyst has been around for a while, having previously focused on product scrapping from retail websites. Now they’re pivoting into a social platform, which is great except that they don’t trust their members to populate their content, instead relying on brand partnerships to push content. In my opinion, this puts them at a severe disadvantage. Empirical data is junk data if what you’re measuring is taste, influence and social relevance.
Sumally just launched. It is based in Japan, and its founder is Yugo Nakamura. Yugo not only designed and launched fffffound.com, which was a massive influence on Svpply both functionally and aesthetically, but he’s also a phenomenal designer who handles a lot of Uniqlo’s fantastic web presence.
I am incredibly jazzed by his having stepped into the ring. I’m being given the opportunity to go head to head with one of my all-time heroes. Who gets to do that?
GimmeBar has great technology and a great team. They’re young enough that Cameron could take the service any direction he wants, which is a bit scary. Ultimately, though, I see them taking a strong bite out of Pinterest’s future prospects.
Curious to see what their upcoming site redesign has to offer. So far they’ve done very little that isn’t something I’ve seen before. But the founders seem interesting, so they’re worth keeping an eye on. The cleanliness of their design is enviable.
I can speak about these other services so flippantly because at this point, the only true competition that any of us have is ignorance on the part of the market. Very few people out there have any idea why social shopping makes sense, or why they would use it instead of something more typical like Amazon.
The line I’ve started pitching to my team is that Svpply wants to do for materialism what Twitter has done for narcissism. There is real utility and value to be had when people get over their cultural shyness and start sharing their retail experiences with each other, but it is a behavior and expectation that will need to be built and nurtured over time with a lot of hard, fascinating work on all of our parts.
Just as the enemy of my enemy is my friend, the growth of any single competitor will be to the advantage of anyone else in the space. I tip my hat to each of them and wish them the best of luck.
Also worth looking at:
lookk.com (Threadless for high fashion)
Everlane.com (Commoditized curation)
likabl.es (Pinterest-clone coming out of
IndonesiaSingapore (my mistake). Seems very nice. Auto-populates your profile with your Facebook Likes, which is interesting.)
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SVPPLY obsession, met for today.
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