A few weeks ago, I presented in class on the topic of LiketoKnow.it, a shopping discovery app that launched last year. After fielding some of your questions as well as reading my presentation feedback, I decided to follow up with a post that delves a little bit more into the landscape in which LiketoKnow.it competes.
Before I get into the new stuff, though, here are a few highlights from my presentation:
- Rewardstyle was founded in 2011 as an end-to-end content monetization platform for influencers and brands.
- In order to solve the issue presented by Instagram, Rewardstyle created LiketoKnow.it, a consumer-facing platform that allows users to share shoppable links with their followers on Instagram.
- The LiketoKnow.it app is predominantly driven by screenshots – users can take a screenshot of a photo they like and then the app will analyze the content of the photo to identify the products that are featured.
But LiketoKnow.it isn’t the only app out there that offers to streamline your online shopping experience. In my quest for competitors, I came across three that seem like they could pose a credible threat to LiketoKnow.it’s success.
- Instagram’s In-App Shopping Function
Remember how I said that Instagram posed a challenge for influencers because the app doesn’t allow tagging non-verified accounts? Well, in November of 2016, Instagram began testing a new shopping function that would make it easier for users to buy the products that are featured in brand’s posts. For the initial launch, Instagram teamed up with select brands like Kate Spade and J Crew. After seeing positive results during the testing phase, they decided to roll out the feature to thousands of other apparel, jewelry, and beauty brands. These special posts have a “tap to view” icon that, when tapped, displays a tag with the product name and price. A more detailed view is available if the user clicks on the tag. If you’re interested in learning more, the video in this blog written by Instagram’s business team does a much better job of explaining the feature than I probably did.
The Screenshop app is one of the latest endeavors of Kim Kardashian West. Now, for those of you wondering if Kim plans to make the switch from reality star to digital entrepreneur, the answer is probably no. She owns only a minority stake in the company really just serves as an “advisor”. The app, which launched in November of 2017, lets users take screenshots from anywhere – Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and apparently any other app with photos– and shop the clothing and accessories (or similar products) in the images. Users can sort the resulting products by a number of different attributes including the degree of similarity to the item in the photo, price, and brand. And, according the description on the App Store Screenshop will not only locate the item you’re interested in, but it will also help you find the best price. This is a feature that’s not offered by the LiketoKnow.it app or Instagram’s in-app shopping. One of the key indicators of the success of an app like this is the number of its brand and retailer partners. Since its launch, Screenshop has partnered with brands like ASOS, TopShop, Saks Fifth Avenue and roughly 450 others to create a database of 10 million products. While these figures seem impressive, keep in mind that LiketoKnow.it boasts 4,000 retailers and over 575,000 brands. Both apps, however, offer a variety of high-end and affordable options.
Using the Screenshop is not too different than using LiketoKnow.it. This video is a quick demonstration by Kim Kardashian of the app’s utility. One thing that I found surprising was the sophistication of the app’s underlying technology. The following list isn’t extensive of the actual technology needed to support the app, but they were the pieces I found most interesting:
- Artificial Intelligence: Screenshop is able to recognize which of your screenshots are fashion related and ignore those that are not
- Recommendation Algorithm: Behind the scenes, the app looks at the products the user interacts with and uses these preferences when deciding which products to show in the future.
- Computer Learning Vision: The app uses multiple technologies to understand and analyze your screenshots. Therefore, the more you use the app, the more tailored to your likes/dislikes it becomes.
All in all, when you look at the numbers in terms of brand representation, Screenshop doesn’t measure up to LiketoKnow.it. That said, Screenshop does have a leg up in the sense that it lets users upload photos from anywhere on the web. The question will be whether or not Screenshop can hold onto this advantage or if LiketoKnow.it will soon roll out similar functionality. If that were to be the case, LiketoKnow.it would almost surely come out on top.
- The Hunt
Lastly, we have The Hunt. Released in 2013, The Hunt advertises itself as “the cure for style envy” and a community of 4 million users that “track down the items you covet.” Here are some of the things you can do on the app:
- Participate in a “Hunt”: Post a photo of something you like (ex. a celebrity’s outfit” and the community of other Hunt users will help you find where to buy it. Likewise, help out a fellow fashion lover by helping them find an item.
- Poll the Community: Get help in making style decisions by polling the community.
The Hunt is clearly not an app along the lines of LiketoKnow.it or Screenshop. However, I decided to include it in this discussion because it is a shopping discovery app at heart and I thought it had some unique features that make it a viable competitor.