Earlier today TechCrunch reported that Wanelo raised funding at a $100 million valuation for its Pinterest-like platform that lets users buy products directly from the site, something that has been lacking from Pinterest despite its popularity among users. Looking to add a larger ecommerce aspect to its “Pinterest for weddings” site, Loverly today announced a relaunch of its platform, with a new design and a focus on actually purchasing wedding-related items rather than just searching for and collecting them.
Launched just over a year ago, Loverly is trying to capitalize both on the popularity of visual search engines like Pinterest, as well as the growing use of technology in planning weddings. With the launch of its new shopping engine today, the company is going beyond browsing to let brides purchase everything from dresses, to accessories, to jewelry, provided by retail partners including Ann Taylor, Kwiat, and Philosophy. This isn’t the company’s first foray into ecommerce, as last June it partnered with brands like Nordstrom and Minted to let users purchase select items. They’ve built that pilot program out, and the platform now features over 100,000 products from 1,300 brands.
Founder Kellee Khalil said Loverly is designed to be a one-stop shop for brides looking to find and buy items for their weddings. “There are thousands of online retailers and brands that carry bridal offerings, but no place to search them all,” Khalil said in an interview. “Launching the Loverly shopping engine allows brides to browse through 100,000 products all in one place, furthering our mission of making wedding planning easier and more fun.”
Now when brides visit the site, they have the option of searching for decor inspiration and other not-for-purchase images via the Explore tab, or they can search by a color palette to see images that match their wedding colors. Users can save images to their collections, called bundles, or share online. Now users can also browse the Shop tab, with 10 categories of products that can be sorted by price, style, and other features. Users are redirected to the designer’s site to purchase the item, and right now the company isn’t taking affiliate fees for each purchase, rather its primary revenue source is advertising (the company sells and serves ads across over 30 wedding blog partner sites). Khalil said right now the shopping platform is in beta, and they will be adding in monetization down the road.
The company has to compete with Pinterest, which has a robust wedding section and is commonly used by brides to collect ideas about decor and dresses, as well as Tailored, another visual search engine for weddings that started off as wedding daily deal site Dress Rush. While Pinterest doesn’t have an ecommerce aspect as of yet, users can purchase items from Tailored using the Buy Now button, which also redirects users to the product on third-party ecommerce sites like Etsy. Khalil had no comment on how they will differentiate from sites like Tailored, but Pinterest is likely their biggest competition for eyeballs, regardless of whether it has ecommerce features.
Adding in a shopping engine is a smart move for the company, since while brides are often searching for inspiration, more often than not they’re also looking to purchase everything from invitations to centerpieces. If the company can monetize through the transactions, while also building out its list of brand partners, it should be able to carve out a strong niche in the visual search engine space.