Billions of people, photos, products. The Internet is so great because of its magnitude, yet this magnitude has a downside.
Online discovery is broken. While servers have become faster, front-end devices have become smaller and more reliable, and new services have flourished, online discovery has stayed the same since 1995 and is still based on search boxes.
Google Shopping. Amazon. eBay. Product discovery is driven by search boxes. And search is effective only when people already know what they need.
In the words of Rakuten founder Hiroshi Mikitani: “E-commerce is search. And search is not shopping.”
When it’s not, it is driven by advertising or discounts.
Discovery is a problem that needs to be solved.
Lifestyle suffers the most from this problem because purchase decisions are driven by inspiration and tastemakers, not by needs. Lifestyle as a category matters because it includes everything we don’t need to survive yet makes our lives unique.
What if people won’t have to use search in the future?
What if we can build a better e-commerce experience that does not rely on search?