Fleek 2.0 and The Potential and Challenges of Social Shopping

Fleek 2.0 start page updates

Fleek 2.0 (app store) brings with it a significant update to the user interface. Taking yet again a clue from Spotify and the successs of its “Discover Weekly” playlists, the feed (the start page of Fleek, sort of) has been replaced with “Updates”: 20 entries consisting of

  • social media updates from brands the user follows,
  • recommendations on what brands one might want to follow,
  • recommendations of Collections and Styles (more on that in a second),
  • weirdly, social media updates from brands the user does not follow,
  • and “Discover Daily”, a personalized recommendation of products based on the data Fleek and Zalando have gathered.

Fleek 2.0 start page updates

The weather widget, the weirdest, and, frankly, no sense making feature in Fleek 1.x, is now gone. (Called it.)

The interface of the fleek start page now is two-fold: Besides the bottom menu (to switch between start page, sortiment search, brand directory and account settings) the start page now has an additional new top menu to select between the aforementioned Updates, Collections and Styles.

Collections are the blogger/influencer/stylists curated collections. (introduced in 1.2, made followable in 1.6) The new one here are Styles. Styles are similar to Collections: They are collections of one outfit at a time. The creators of those Styles can as well be followed.

Fleek Styles

For those keeping count at home, that now makes three (3) kinds of entities users can follow in Fleek:

  • brands
  • creators of Collections
  • creators of Styles

The feature of following other accounts is one of the most powerful features when it comes to social information architecture. The asymmetric connections enable all sorts of interactions and can include all kinds of networks. (In this context, symmetry (think friends at Facebook) is a subset of asymmetry (think followers and followings on Twitter))

As much as I see the potential of what Fleek is trying to do here, I am not certain the current interface really supports the increasingly complex net of connections under the hood. Consequences of manual actions (updates from brands and creators of Collections and Styles a user follows) are intermingled with automatically generated recommendations and other features. And only brands got a dedicated page and feed where one can see what brands one is following.1 There are no similar overview pages for followed creators of collections and styles. Maybe users don’t need those, or maybe without the act of following feels more hollow than it should be.

The challenge with this kind of architecture is in how to bring users to engage with the service as they have to go through an additional stage; let’s call that the “setup” stage. They need to understand what they might gain be hitting follow and thus personalizing the service to their liking. If they do, the whole thing can become very valuable to all involved. But the whole thing needs to be obvious.

So, there are serious challenges ahead. Finding the right user interface for this increasingly rich set of features is no easy feat. And yet, I am more than ever intrigued by the potential of Fleek. This app is slowly evolving into the most interesting take on social (fashion) shopping I ever came across and it comes from a major player and not a startup. (and hence should have the necessary ressources for the long haul)

With 2.0 comes also a rather significant bug. In my account my gender is set to male and yet:

Bug in Fleek

That is a lot of irrelevant content for me in my Fleek.

Recently, Fleek scored being promoted by the Apple app store. Zalando PR is still not talking about Fleek to the press. (or about any of the other mobile apps by Zalando like Movmnt, Zipcart and Seen at)

More on this topic:

  1. On a sidenote, Fleek 2.0 feels also very much like the start of a de-emphasizing of the brand focus of Fleek 1.0. This is just a gut feeling and it might very well just be a logical consequence of the broadening scope of Fleek, so take this how you want to. On that note, as far as I can see the brand ads, which were where at the launch of Fleek, are also gone. At least for the time being. For what it is worth, adidas, for example, now has 6.638 followers on Fleek. 


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