Can Verishop solve the ecommerce discovery conundrum?

Can Verishop solve the ecommerce discovery conundrum

Anyone tried Verishop? The new anti-Amazon e-com platform (from former Snap Inc. exec, Imran Khan) is an online marketplace that aims to give a much more elevated experience than the soulless functionality of Amazon.

Pitched as ‘affordable luxury’ for young customers looking for contemporary brands, it’s banking on 24/7 customer service to entice customers, with free shipping and returns, making up the margins with lower marketing spend. It seems it will however invest in influencers – aka ‘tastemakers’ – who will curate their own edits. “The Tastemaker shop and influencer store will certainly expand over time. It’s like walking down Fifth Avenue, but instead of brand stores, there are human brands’ stores for consumers to see what products they like,” Khan told Vogue Business.

Alongside tastemaker shops is an easy-to-access ‘responsible store’ that corrals all the ethical fashion and ‘clean beauty’ products together. Interestingly, the Verishop beauty offer so far is only ‘clean’ stuff, perhaps a reflection of the values of the target demographic. “We really want to have a strong point of view and specify the ingredients that we feel the industry has said are not good for you. We want the customer to trust us, so we want to go with the strictest standards,” says chief strategy officer, Cate Khan (former SVP at defunct Amazon subsidiary Quidsi). “We plan on opening up the platform to non-clean beauty options later on.”

Palermo Body at Verishop

Current brands of note sold at Verishop include IRO, J Brand, L’Objet, Lebon and Pai Skincare, alongside a number of newer niche brands. Like Amazon, this platform hopes to give small brands exposure to a wide audience. If we’re looking at a future without physical shopping malls or high streets, then there’s a huge opportunity for more online malls that curate brands for easy discovery. Instagram is great for discovery (especially with millennials), but it’s not a mall, unless IG decides to create a mall-type brand aggregator.

Other players operating in this curated ‘discovery’ category already include Farfetch (physical designer boutiques given an online presence) and Parade, an aggregator of skate wear retailers. I imagine we’re going to see more of these aggregators trying to capture the eyeballs of their respective niches. The challenge then, will be honing their niche to give the tightest and most exciting edit of product and creating a strong personality around the platform.

UPDATE: This post describes the same sentiment, but has a name for it – ‘soulful aggregators’

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Verishop, Palermo Body
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