Online retail is not a new concept. In fact online shopping, in one form or another, has been around nearly as long as the Internet itself. It’s been around so long it’s become old hat, not boring, just really familiar.
People have their own rhythms when they buy online. Some go straight to big retailers’ websites, some have active Amazon or eBay accounts, and some people just Google and buy from wherever comes up first. It’s hard to get excited about online retail anymore, because the experience is pretty similar wherever you go.
Even for online retailers, they have a choice of locations where they can create their own online retail space; which are all pretty much the same. They vary by commission and user base, but most online retailers will tell you that the experience on most ecommerce sites is pretty uniform.
Online Shopping’s Getting Prettier and More Social
Until this year, where we’ve seen a few websites trying to break the mold and create unique, interesting and new retail experiences. Etsy, in particular, has stood out, with its craft leanings and beautiful Pinterest inspired design.
More recently, we’ve spoken about Wajam. A site that displays your friends’ recommendations and reviews of products, while you shop. Social integration has been a buzzword for a while now and it’s clearly becoming more relevant in ecommerce.
Now, we have a new contender in Wisemarkit. This new site combines the things that make Etsy and Wajam interesting and adds some gamification and design features for good measure. What makes it really unique though, is the fact that you don’t have to own items to have them in your Wisemarkit store.
If you run a store on Wisemarkit you’re a curator, not a seller. You choose the items and brands you want to sell from Amazon and ShopSense to create your own online boutique. You can promote your store through your own social channels and make a commission from any sales you get.
The idea is to focus on the social and personal aspects of brand identity. You create a store that suits your personality and invite your friends, followers and the general public to like the things that you like. It’s a unique concept that opens up the online retail world to people who might never have gotten involved in online selling.
Wisemarkit Makes You a Store Curator, Not a Seller
Once you start, Wisemarkit incentivizes success in more ways than just commission. You start out with 10 ‘Wisemarks’, items you choose to feature in your store. The more successful you are, the more floors you can add to your store and the more Wisemarks you can have.
Which brings us to the interface for shoppers. Wisemarkit’s visual style combines elements of Pinterest and Etsy with a fairly old-school online shopping idea. Remember those old tomorrow’s world episodes that envisaged shopping online in virtual reality, walking around a digital store picking up online representations of real products? That’s where you start on Wisemarkit. It’s not virtual reality, but you start your shopping experience on a street that you can scroll, as opposed to stroll, along. Each featured store has it’s own shop front complete with products in the window.
When you enter the store, you are presented with the featured products in a Pinterest/Etsy like display. You also have the option to scroll down to the ‘stockroom, where the rest of the store’s products are available. If you prefer, you can just browse Etsy-style through all of the available products.
If you decide to make a purchase, you will be redirected to the actual product on Amazon and complete the transaction there as normal, so completing your purchases takes no getting used to at all.
The success or failure of these new socially integrated shopping experiences will depend on speed of uptake. So there are no guarantees. But Wisemarkit’s looks and unique financial system definitely stand out.
It’s just a great mix of ideas, a socially integrated, modern-looking and unique premise built on a really traditional shopping experience.