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Wanelo: Redefining the Personalized Online Social Shopping Experience; The Next Big Thing on the Net

Ever wondered what the next big thing on the internet is?  Well, here’s a clue: It’s a new form of social media with more e-commerce conversions than any other and it spells out what you want, need and love in a new platform designed to give you everything available on the internet and more.

In a recent interview in Bloomberg Television’s Market Makers, Wanelo founder and CEO Deena Varshavskaya shared her thoughts on how her company (which she founded in 2010) has been making waves for almost half a decade now by way of establishing itself as a social media mutant which integrates various aspects of e-commerce into mainstream consumer niches designed to change the way people do their buying and selling online.

As Varshavskaya explained, “Wanelo is a social platform used by millions of people to find and purchase products from all over the world.  So, the way it works is, you follow all of your favourite stores—you follow the people you like—and you get a feed of their products.  So, in that sense, it’s very similar to Twitter, except that it’s just for shopping.”

What Wanelo has done is to bring the online shopping community to a whole new level of interaction by means of an integrated single platform wherein one can “follow” a person, a store or a product thereby making it possible to receive various feeds and updates related to one’s personal preferences much like the way one would receive a tweet from a person, store or product of interest.

During the interview, the Wanelo CEO disclosed, “Our goal is to bring together all of the world’s shopping, so it makes sense that there’s definitely something for everyone, right?”  She adds, “And when I talk about the parallel to Twitter—the reason why this makes sense—is that on Twitter you find all content re-organized around people.  And you show up, you follow accounts that are relevant to you, and that creates your personalized feed.  That’s exactly how Wanelo works.”

It has also been compared to Pinterest and other similar social media sites, but what makes Wanelo stand out from the rest is the way in which it levels the playing field for the more than 200,000 stores/sellers it has registered on the site.  Its homepage is characterized by a continuous stream of various images of products which are all for sale, depending on each product’s availability.

Varshavskaya noted, “In that sense, we are democratizing shopping.  We are making it possible for any brand to play and get access to the right consumer and compete on the same level.”

Wanelo’s registry has grown significantly over the last two years, with the 3rd quarter of 2013 posting a high of 10 million registered users from a mere million just before the end of 2012.  Though this is a huge leap in membership numbers, it still has a limited market base, owing to the fact that 90% of its users are American women.  It obviously has a huge potential for growth as it prepares to conquer the emerging markets of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Wanelo’s members can either log-in through their account or via Facebook, which makes for a more rounded social shopping experience, with mobile apps available for both Android and iOS users.

When asked how Wanelo makes its bread and butter, Varshavskaya was quick to reveal, “We have affiliate relationships in place but that is not actually our angle.  We know that we are basically the only social network, especially of our size, that deals with fundamentally monetiz-able content—which is products.”  She clarified, “We have a business model in mind which is not currently launched.  I think there will be a business model in the future that’s a lot more transformative than simply affiliate transactions.”

Want, Need and Love Everything on the Internet?  Better make Wanelo part of your online shopping vocabulary from now on.  As Varshavskaya aptly put, “It just ends up being a wonderful way to be exposed to products from brands you know but it also is a really great way to discover products and brands you’ve never heard of.”

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