Today I was taking a look at this site called Wanelo, which offers a novel way to shop for unique products. Browsing their home page, I could quickly see that the core market they were looking at was fashion. At least, that’s what it appeared to be from reviewing the home page:

Wanelo home page

After seeing the image, I’m sure it’s clear to anybody who sees women’s clothing, an apron, and make-up products in the first row would agree. The most useful category this could be applied to is fashion.

What’s both interesting and odd about Wanelo is that the site could be a copy of Kaboodle, in some ways

If you review this page on Wanelo, it’s awefully similar to this page on Kaboodle. The core concept is exactly the same, the logged out experience very close – the main difference I see is the lack of monetization, outside of the link to etsy.com, on Wanelo. Wanelo also pushes a login with Facebook, which at present, would be the best way to encourage a social shopping experience. Here’s a screenshot of the Kaboodle page:

Kaboodle reviews page screenshot

As you can see, the core set of features appear to be the same, at least from a logged out visitor perspective. The GUI on Wanelo is much better overall, allowing for easier access to the ‘buy now’ button, in the top right. This is more in line with the location of Amazon’s buy button. So aside from the lack of ads, the Wanelo experience has a lot more polish in the initial feel.

Also shocking, is the spartan interface of Wanelo, overall. It has essentially the same core features of Kaboodle, with no advertising, and far more pagination to view more historical data about an item, larger social media icons and larger related product images overall. In general, I find that I enjoy the interface, between the bold, large font and the more interesting images. It’s a lot more fun than Kaboodle’s interface. At the same time, both of these sites are missing on a few key factors, including syndication links, more popular prouducts that are related to the core product and a few other personalization oriented lists that could round out each page, yet make them both much more meaningful.

What each of these two sites could use – who will build it first?

  1. Syndication links – not just social media buttons, but emeddable boxes with a single click to repost the interesting modules elsewhere (eg, wordpress) or show an example of what you could post on your new timeline. See an example in this infographic post about Maldives Democracy.
  2. Prompt to download the iPhone, and or Android app for the site including such must have features as local, social commerce based on my taste graph and alerts from stores that I have liked on the site when they have something which matches my taste graph. Limit one such notification per month to test out the impact on LTV.
  3. Random, A/B tested social proof such as larger testimonials, bolder personalization, rotation of the various content buckets to find the right mix of engagement, viral spread and retention. If engaged, this strategy would be great marketing material to showcase how the site was improving the product in a very customer centric way, which would help to facilitate a positive feedback loop.

Sometimes, the power of three in writing is a rule that should be followed, in this case, I’m going to stop there as each of these projects in isolation would be a week or two of development work, without an existing iPhone or Android App, that might take months to execute and with the traffic size they each have, bucket tests should probably take a few weeks as well. So I’ll stop with this list and see how well each of these companies, so similar in terms of product, execute against what I would call a best in class growth strategy.

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