Is it just me, or is “re-commerce” becoming a thing, really a thing? As a subset of e-commerce it’s not tracked as strongly as other trends such as mobile or gamification; but between the sheer number of re-commerce sites and the rate at which individual sites are growing, I’m confident that the battle for market share will eventually reach the public’s conscious – or at least that of the tech media. I recently spoke to a knowledgeable source about the recent bumper crop of re-commerce start-ups, and although she has skin in the game, she acknowledged that the most effective site would eventually surface – and that it was still anyone’s game to win. In this ongoing competition Copious doesn’t have the cult following of sites/apps such as Threadflip or Poshmark, but the website is distinguishing itself in key ways.
The most obvious being that Copious is the first to break ahead of the pack, in terms of broadening its scope. On Tuesday of this week the company announced a partnership with television personality and stylist, Brad Goreski. The partnership marks several additions to Copious’ offerings, which now include menswear, art, and home décor. As Emma Starks, communications manager at Copious, said to me when I visited the office, “we specialize in what you like”. To do that effectively it follows that women’s apparel couldn’t be the only option on the site.
More fundamentally, Copious, while it uses the social graph, isn’t just built on it; it’s aiming to create its own. The new user experience is similar to other sites: you sign up, choose a style profile that describes yourself, and are given some people to follow. What distinguishes Copious is how they use that data. How do they use it? The short answer is an algorithm. The long answer is… long. Jonathan Ehrlich, co-founder at Copious, explained the reasoning: A lot of people are trying to do social with basic Connect implementation and putting stories in people’s feeds. But it’s very rare in your use of Facebook or Twitter to stop what you’re doing, click on a link and go buy something. So it’s just ambient awareness.” Copious doesn’t just want you to be aware of what’s happening, they want you to act on it. One way they facilitate this is by reducing the influence of friends. It’s less about buying from/selling to/following your friends as it is about leveraging the social graph to build a customized experience to your interests, à la Spotify, Quora or Pinterest. This appears to be the core distinction of Copious. Said Ehrlich, “A lot of [re-commerce sites] are trying to do Facebook Connect but nobody’s building their own graph. Nobody is trying to organize and create an experience around unique individuals set of interests for a person.”
There are yet other factors that distinguish Copious from the pack. They’ve been able to access the closets of several top fashion bloggers (like the Man Repeller), and they give sellers an incredible amount of control. As my source said above, re-commerce is still anybody’s game to win, and Copious is definitely a serious player.