What do we know about e-commerce in the coming years? Well for one, it's going to play a bigger role in our life. And two, it's going to be a lot more social. Helishopter is a new Stockholm-based startup still in beta that's attempting their own take on social recommendations to e-commerce. They provide recommendations through machine learning, as well as social features like recommendations based on what your friends have clicked on or purchased.
James Pember, the biz dev guy behind Helishopter, tells us they're well aware that e-commerce is a crowded space, and that giants like Amazon are already moving towards social shopping. But they feel that there is still room in the market to improve, and that they've got the tech to best tackle social shopping.
Helishopter's launch is coming up soon, they're just polishing the visuals and fixing a few bugs here and there. The team initially had the idea of targeting their launch on the Swedish e-commerce market, but during beta they've gathered more users outside Sweden than in. But Pember says they aim to have about 90% of Swedish e-commerce companies indexed on launch, and will expand regionally from there.
This large number of stores in their directory will make Helishopter a convenient platform to search for products, but it's social features will likely add more to hooks. In addition it's easy to imagine people using the service for inspiration, much like Pinterest, or just using it to "stalk" trendsetters or people with good style.
One backend feature they cite as a benefit is that they've built a spider that scrapes website for price information, rather than just plugging into an e-commerce company's API (which sometimes are updated only once a week). This gives them the most up-to-date discounts, but potentially also makes it easy to scale their service to other markets.
It's not a huge trend, but we're seeing more e-commerce innovations spring up in the Nordics. Only a few weeks ago we covered a Helsinki-based social shopping platform called NetOutlet that works off of group purchases. And in Stockholm, Tictail is trying to make e-commerce more accessabile to anyone that wants to sell their own products.
There's a huge opportunity with e-commerce innovations, but it comes with a risk. The market seems to be divvied up and stagnant. Amazon is doing their thing. Ebay's got theirs, and Google Product Search seems to be the big search platform on top of all of them. But with those big obstacles in the way comes big opportunity; it will be interesting to watch Helishopter once they hit 1.0.
So far Helishopter has raised $700k in seed funding to build their platform.
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