One of the many emerging trends in the fashtech scene is (what I call) “social search”. Sites that allow users to post items that they’re looking for, then get product suggestions from other users. One such site is The Hunt (others: ShopperSeeks). How many times have you wanted something specific that you saw in a magazine or on another person, but you either don’t know where to find it, or want options to compare? Conversely, are you someone who relishes online shopping and loves sending great finds to your friends? If you answered yes to either (or both), you want to jump on the social search train, stat.
When you first visit the Hunt the first thing you see is a call to action: “What are you hunting for? Start a new hunt(!)” (I’m inferring the exclamation point.) Just below you immediately see examples of what people are looking for. Many are photos from non-ecommerce sites around the internet, where a user is searching for an item seen on a celebrity or featured in a photo. Shoppers also, however, search for ecommerce items, either at different price points or just to gather a range of options. Starting a hunt is easy. You can choose a photo from where most people consume images these days: Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, or elsewhere on the web. You name your hunt, describe it, and can choose to set a price. The feature I like the most allows you to describe the intensity of your search. Do you HAVE TO HAVE this exact item, or will a similar one suffice? Or perhaps you specifically want that look, for less.
Adding to a hunt is pretty much the same flow as starting a hunt. In three clicks you can offer up your suggestion. Anybody viewing the hunt can let you know if they think your find is a “gem”, and the person who started the hunt can decide that an item is perfect.
One glaring weakness of the site is the lack of share buttons. I remember using the site a couple of iterations ago, and tweeting my hunt was just a click away. This time, however, my only option was to share on Tumblr. Additionally, the navigation to access previous hunts that I’ve participated in was difficult. In my profile there is a list of my own hunts, but no place for my suggestions. I clicked on the “gems” that I’ve received, which actually displayed a list of everything I’ve suggested. From there I could click back into a previous hunt, in case I wanted to add anything else.
Those limitations aside, the likelihood of me using this site? Very strong. In fact, I have a couple of hunts going. Even though I’m an online shopping fiend, I always love getting suggestions. Help me find some chelsea boots?
Note: When it comes to start-ups, rarely is there just one version of something. Whether an app, website, or service, if one company is doing it you can bet there’s competition. That’s not to accuse entrepreneurs of being copy-cats; on the contrary, it’s a sign that many minds are working to solve a significant problem. So now when I review websites if I’m aware of the competitors in the space, I’ll call them out so that you can be more aware of what’s happening in the space. And if I miss something or someone, let me know!