eBay Acquires Pinterest-Like Shopping Site Svpply.com
By Ina Steiner
Take elements of Pinterest and Twitter and add a focus on material goods and you've got social shopping site Svpply, whose founders announced on Thursday they had sold the company to eBay. But to those who remember eBay's acquisition and subsequent sale of discovery tool StumbleUpon, it may seem like deja vu.
Svpply is a community site where users pull products from retail websites and marketplaces (including eBay, Etsy and Amazon) and create Collections of products or lists of their Wants and Owns.
If you like someone else's style, you can "follow" them, similar to following people on Twitter. For example, god from Norway follows 152 other Svpply users, and has 437 followers and 422 "Wants."
eBay spokesperson Kari Ramirez said the Svpply team would help eBay expand its focus on merchandising, discovery and browsing. Svpply is "not going away" and all current employees will be joining eBay Inc. at its New York office later this fall.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Turning to Quora for Answers
So what's Svpply and how is it different from Pinterest? It seems appropriate to turn to another social site for answers - Quora.
Pinterest user Mischa Fierer answered a Quora post, "What is the major difference between Pinterest, Thefancy and Svpply" by explaining, "Svpply focuses on stuff you can buy. Pinterest focuses on scrapbooking. Svpply aims to have only things that can be purchased. Svpply's interaction focuses on buying. When I add an item to Svpply, I have to include information that would be useful to someone who might want to buy that item."
And in a post asking, Why hasn't Svpply caught on as quickly as Pinterest, Quora user Amrit Richmond, Publisher of Beaker Magazine says, "I think it might have to do with the fact that they have different use cases. Pinterest is for pinning anything visual - inspiration, photography, fashion. Svpply is more for items you can buy - shoes, accessories, books, clothing, home decor. Personally, I find Svpply easier to use than Pinterest. I found the on-boarding and "pinning" process on Pinterest to be extremely complicated. The Pinterest homepage is a buffet of visual miscellany. The Svpply homepage is a well curated selection of items based on what a user has bookmarked and stores they follow."
Svpply to Work Alongside Hunch
According to the Svpply blog announcement, the founders created Svpply three years ago "with the goal of creating a unified online retail shopping experience by bringing shoppers, tastemakers and merchants onto a single site."
Svpply said its team would work with eBay - "together, we'll work to create improved and personalized experiences and merchandising options for eBay.com."
According to eBay, the acquisition of Svpply gains it access to technology talent to further improve the shopping and selling experience for its customers. "Svpply.com assets - including a talented team of six designers and developers - are well-suited to help eBay advance more personalized experiences and merchandising options on eBay.com."
eBay said Svpply would join the eBay and Hunch teams in the new technology development center in New York City, where employees are working on "highly visible technology projects across eBay, including data analysis, personalization and other specialty areas."
It will be interesting to see what eBay does with Svpply, as readers may remember that eBay was unable to extract value from StumbleUpon, the small startup it acquired and later sold.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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