Platforms like Etsy and eBay offer community-oriented hubs through which people can open virtual storefronts, while services like Lyst and OpenSky
allow members to shop in a manner that’s similar to following people on Twitter. While certainly social, these offerings don’t necessarily facilitate transactions between people within their own social networks. An emergent crop of online marketplaces, however, seeks to give retail entrepreneurs a seamless way to market to the people they already know.
For those with an addiction to shopping, the burden of closet cleaning is often less about parting ways with a previously cherished item than it is about deciding how best to get rid of it. Such was the consumer insight (gleaned from his wife and her friends
) that inspired engineer Manik Singh to launch Threadflip
. The online bazaar
simplifies the buying and selling of used clothing and accessories by synching listings with social network streams and by providing “end-to-end” service. Right after an item is purchased, Threadflip sends the seller prepaid shipping materials. Then, once the package is ready to go, the seller merely calls for a pick-up.
In today’s cluttered startup landscape, garnering consumer attention is challenging for an enterprise in its infancy. But, when a young digital impresario leaves a post at the third most popular social network
to start his own service, people notice. Hence, the buzz
, a new e-commerce/social shopping platform from former Pinterest designer Sahil Lavingia. Created as a means to “democratize the ability to sell stuff online,” Gumroad gives makers of digital content a systemized way to distribute their work to their friends, fans and followers, whether it be a song, app, art piece, essay, or PowerPoint presentation. Indeed, if it can be shared, it can be sold.
The “social graph” is a term that’s been thrown around almost as much as “curation,” but few have implemented the concept successfully. Google Ventures-backed site Copious
is based entirely on the idea. The platform facilitates peer-to-peer sales transactions akin to those of Craigslist, eBay, or any one of the many online classifieds
, but its differentiating factor is that its marketplace exists entirely within each member’s unique social network. This affords sellers an unprecedented degree of transparency. So, rather than field email offers from strangers who may never show up at the appointed sale time, vendors can take comfort in selling to people they already know and trust.