Recently I noticed Pinterest-esque maternity & baby care social sharing and shopping sites have sprouted out in China. Some began to wonder whether this arena can be the “blue ocean” and nurture successful startups. After all fashion & beauty oriented Pinterest copycats Mogujie and Meilishuo have gained great amount of users and reputation. And why not in maternity & baby care? Sounds cheerful, but my opinion is rather pessimistic.
I have written several posts regarding online maternity & baby care lately because L’Atelier Shanghai just nailed down a huge project for client pertinent to this sector of business. The whole research process naturally pushed me to look deeper into this.
Though I discerned the budding of maternity & baby care Pinterest clones in China, I have not assigned too much weight to that. Somehow, coincidently, one of my alumni approached me and raised this topic anew. And my immediate response was a big “Nay”.And I expatiated my view to him and below is just a summary of it.
1)Starting from the end of last year, I have encountered these sites like
They all have more or less similar user experience, which means no one is really standing out of the crowd. I believe more will pop up in the near future. Competition can be intense.
2)Pinterest, or any social oriented online platform is essentially a user generated content site, thereby the key is to gain enough traffics. By doing this you will need a lot investment beforehand, i.e. SEO/SEM, advertising in major online mother discussion communities, blogger drive, or even celebrity endorsement.
3)Pinterest photo display is very ideal for young girls to spot fashionable apparels or pretty make-up, and this explains current success of Mogujie and Meilishuo in China. However for baby care and maternity, waterfall like pictures of big belly women or milk bottles might not that sufficient to stir motherhood affection. Though not a mother yet, my natural instinct told I probably need more than images to drive me shopping for pregnancy or baby.
I prefer a more dynamic and comprehensive online mom community like Babytree.com, through which I would be educated, submit my questions to baby care experts, receive free samples or get advice from other mothers for shopping advice etc. In future Babytree.com might even integrate its own Pinterest like social shopping channel on its platform, who knows!
4) China e-commerce is dominated by Taobao. Hence shopping links on these kinds of Pinterest clones are often connected to Taobao. Basically the major revenue from this business model is earning CPA/CPS referal fees from Taobao, which means they are heavily reliant on Taobao’s policy. What if one day Taobao decides to reduce your referral fees or tax additional tech commission fees on you?
Though a fancy idea, Pinterest driven social shopping has not gained solid traction yet. And in China, thanks to Mogujie and Melishuo (conversion rate around 7-8%), is sort of the most advanced market; nevertheless even their popularity has waned down lately and their Taobao oriented business model might have limitations in the long run.
In one word, I just do not think the fate of maternity&baby Pinterest clones would be that fortuitous.