It’s a rare instance, on my computer at home or in the office, that I don’t have at least one browser tab open to an online store, be it Ssense, ShopBop, Net-A-Porter, Asos, wherever. Where the sales are, I’ll be. (Hey! It’s sale season.)
Wantering, a Vancouver-based startup, brings online shopping onto one simple site. The site is the internet equivalent to that friend who knows exactly where to find the perfect finishing piece to an outfit. In its first iteration, Wantering members filled in a short style quiz to be directed to pieces across e-commerce sites that they might want to invest in. As of a relaunch last Wednesday, Wantering is also an ulimate shopping search engine.
Using an algorithm, Wantering constantly scans the web and social media, making note of fashion that is posted and discussed through various channels. Now, when you type a search into their field—“Isabel Marant,” say, or “leather pants”—the results show the most “popular” pieces that fall under that category at the top of the page, and you can scroll endlessly to find more options. Taking from a huge variety of shops, all of your online shopping can be done through the platform; gone are the days of multiple open tabs and buyers remorse for splurging on one item only to find a cheaper version a few clicks later. What’s more, a search can be filtered by price and by sale, and because the algorithm updates in real time, it tells you when an item is out of stock.
A week and a half ago, I embarked on a Google Hangout (this is how one interacts with startups, phones are for suckers) with founder and CEO Matt Friesen and press contact Kathleen Ong, to get a sneak peak of the search function, and honestly, it blew me away. While the interface is reminiscent of Pinterest (without the food porn overkill and vintage interiors), you can shop everything on the site. Anything you like, but need time to mull over before pulling the trigger, can be favourited and stored. And the algorithm works! My leather pants search yielded results from Vince, Rag & Bone, Maison Martin Margiela, BLK DNM, and Asos—all brands I would typically look for during an online shopping spree.
My one complaint? The lovely thing about really great online shops like Barney’s, Ssense, and Net-A-Porter—even Zara—is that in their design and appearance they feel stylish and high fashion. Different brands are united through uniform imagery and editorial content lends a bit of aspirational value. Because the content on Wantering comes from all sorts of different sources, the images will never look the same. That said, in my humble opinion, a little bit of authoritative curation from fashion experts, as well as smoother visual organization instead of the random Pinterest model, would do well for Wantering. The functionality, though, is genius.