Uncovet, the accessories and home design e-commerce destination, has raised $1.3 million to enhance its mobile, data and personalization capabilities.
Investors in Uncovet, which was developed by Los Angeles technology incubator Science Inc. to connect independent designers with customers seeking unique goods, include Javelin Venture Partners, Siemer Ventures and Paige Craig. Uncovet reported it has 500,000 monthly visitors and more than 175,000 followers on Pinterest, making its presence on the social media network one of the largest in the retail segment.
Uncovet has evolved from being driven by a strategy similar to flash-sale Web sites at its launch about a year ago to being a pure-play e-commerce site, although it carries no inventory and relies on brands to ship merchandise, with a catalogue of more than 1,200 products. To get access to those products, customers have had to register on Uncovet, but that registration restriction is being dropped this week.
“There has been this amazing explosion of independent designers and creators though Etsy, eBay and social networking. They are trying to reach a broader but targeted audience,” said Uncovet chief executive officer Jamie Berger. “Meanwhile, consumers who are adult women in their 20s and 30s love finding new things, but they are overwhelmed by the number of things out there.”
Because they have a passion for its merchandise, Uncovet’s customers tend to share pictures of it frequently on social networks such as Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. That sharing has become a source of data that Uncovet leverages to improve its own assortment and will in the future leverage to improve its consumer experience.
“Every time someone interacts with images [on social networks], we are effectively collecting data on all of those interactions. We are not focused on what you buy. We are focused on what you share, what you click on,” explained Berger. “Our buyers are getting information about what is trending for our consumers, not only what’s selling, which gives us insight into vendors, styles or categories we should be investing more time in.” In the future, he continued, the data will be available to vendors and allow Uncovet to be customized for individuals “based on what we know about your tastes and interests.”
Mobile is also a big priority for Uncovet. It will introduce an app created for the iPhone next month. “While mobile drives 50 percent of our current audience, and it is a growth driver, it is wildly untapped for us because the experience for our consumers now is suboptimal” on mobile devices, said Berger.
Profits aren’t a top priority at the moment for Santa Monica, Calif.-based Uncovet, which employs 15 people. “The priority for us is to continue to scale, build all the fundamentals, get growth, and get loyalty and engagement,” said Berger. “We don’t want to live in a vacuum and never have to think about that, but it is not the focus.”