What is The Hunt?
The social media boom has created a window into each of our daily lives and made what we do or wear on a daily basis public. Gone are the days when thousands of girls coveted what celebrities wore in paparazzi photos. Nowadays, shoppers are on the hunt for what their peers are sharing on social media.
Launched in 2013, The Hunt is a site that allow users to exchange style advice and discover new trends together. By simply posting an image of an item or an outfit, users can crowdsource style advice from the site’s four million users (300,000 weekly active users). The Hunt users are 90 percent female, with 55 percent between the ages of 18 and 24.
To start the hunt, a user can simply upload a photo and ask “Where can I find this?” and the community will find the item(s) for the user at the requested size and price. Since its launch in 2013, the site has accumulated over five million hunts, of which 55-65 percent has a “Find” within 24 hours. Users can participate in several ways:
- Initiate a “hunt” by posting a photo
- Follow a “hunt” and receive alerts when a hunt is solved
- Help solve a hunt by posting a “find”
- “Upvote” finds that are most relevant to the initial hunt, therefore helping elevate the best answers
The Hunt’s community also acts as personal stylists to those who live alone and want a second opinion. Upload a few photos and the community can weigh in on their favorite look.
How does The Hunt incentivize user participation?
The Hunt awards “experience points” to those that help others find the item of clothing they are looking for. The more points a user receives, the more weight their opinion will carry among the community and their answers will surface above others. The Hunt also awards “insider” status to the most active members of the community, which helps drive followers to these insiders’ blog or social media channel. Brands can also participate in the hunt by solving hunts with items from their own shops. This can drive traffic and sales for a particular brand.
How does The Hunt capture value?
The Hunt continues to struggle with providing ways to measure direct traffic from The Hunt to brand sites and accounting for the conversion to sales created by The Hunt. This is making it hard for the company to capture the value it generates for brands. Since launch, The Hunt raised over $15 million in funding with distinguished investors such as Tyra Banks, Ashton Kutcher, and Rohan Oza, former Chief Marketing Officer of Coca-Cola Company.
What are the challenges and growth potential?
The Hunt recently launched the use of tags to streamline the experience. Users can click on tags to search for aggregated trends and styles (e.g., #heels, #motojackets). The Hunt also launched iOS and Android apps to make finding fashion easier and more on-the-go.
With the convergence of fashion and technology, more fashion-finding services are on the rise. LIKEtoKNOW.it is a service that allows Instagram users to “like” photos and triggers emails sent to the user’s inbox with ready-to-shop links and details of items featured in the photo. With this service, the “hunter” is the source of inspiration rather than a community of users, guaranteeing the exact product the user covets. The LIKEtoKNOW.it service also allows online publishers to understand what their audience responds to and creates a direct link between content and retail sales. What it lacks in comparison to The Hunt are suggestions by a passionate community that offer alternatives best suited for different budgets and sizes.
Other competitors include Amazon.com and Google, who offer recommendations via search algorithm rather than suggestions curated by humans. It’s yet to be seen if a computer can do a better job at “hunting” than fashion-obsessed users. Still, the ultimate challenge for The Hunt is to bridge the gap between inspiration, intent to buy, and final purchase.