27 years ago…years before the commercial internet (and decades before the smartphone!), I worked on a big consulting study about the emergence of electronic shopping. Talk about ancient history! Even then, we forecast the demise of traditional retail. And that was years before Amazon launched. It’s taken DECADES to get to a place where ecommerce is 9% of total retail (and Amazon is a full 5%!), but we’re finally at that inflection point. Traditional retail is going down while Amazon goes up and up.
Often times I hear VCs shy away from ecomm saying they’d never bet against Amazon because anything that can be Amazoned will be Amazoned. I *mostly* agree for easily searched commodity items although even then there are exceptions.
But there are massive categories that don’t lend themselves to Amazon – i.e., lifestyle products where discovery is the value-add in the transaction (versus price and free shipping, etc., which are ALWAYS nice to have).
I’m all about curation. Although a know-it-all, I do value others’ opinions. Recently I went to a dinner party where my neighbor served a sparkling rose that I can’t stop thinking about. It was sheer perfection. Light and dry but rich and fruity. A seemingly impossible combination. I’ve never felt that way about a wine. Since then, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect rose. The journey has been as good as the destination. Mostly I enjoy wine by reading about it. Needless to day, I didn’t find the perfect rose on Amazon.
I’m planning a dinner party and I looked around for great table designs. My hunt took me to Instagram, Etsy, Pinterest, YouTube and all the great lifestyle blogs on Bloglovin. I bought a ton of stuff for this party and the only things I bought on Amazon were two generic white tablecloths.
Yet, many of these content sources on Instagram and the XYZ blog haven’t been easily “shoppable.” There might be a link but then you’re on yet another f-ing website creating a new account, trying to come up with a password that matches that site’s requirements (6 letters, 8 letters and one number or symbol, no symbol, a symbol, at least one capital letter… ARGH!!!). Yes I know there are vaults for passwords but you get my drift. And with Snapchat’s PaperClip links embeddable in a Snap, the opportunity has the potential to be even bigger.
This is an old problem and dozens if not hundreds of companies have been formed to solve this. I’ve looked at a bunch but nothing broke through for me until I met Cole and Jessie, the founders at Fame.co.
Celebs can use Fame.co’s tools to make social content EASILY shoppable. Yes, there are other players in that space. Some are ahead of Fame and have raised bigger dollars. But I felt that this founding team had the smarts, the gumption and the drive to get it right. So I wrote a check.
Say you’re a high traffic celeb and you are frequently posting buyable items and have built a sizable product catalog. What do you do with it? Well Fame makes it easy to create your own web store and an ecomm app. Instagram and Snapchat users get the benefit of a universal shopping cart when they shop across celebs’ sites. Fame also allows celebs to quickly and easily leverage brand sponsorships Fame has already structured. And all this can be promoted using Fame.co’s easy email tools.
My ecomm enablement investments are doing wonderfully. SellBright is helping omnichannel sellers post and optimize their listings across channels. Granify is helping ecomm companies optimize conversions. Gramercy just launched and I’m confident they’ll help ecomm companies drive more customer referrals. I feel equally bullish about Fame.co.
Borrowing from a very well known curator, powering commerce is “….a very good thing.”