I hate shopping. I especially hate shopping in an actual brick and mortar store. Because of that, I try to purchase most of my items online and most of that via the gigantic and sometimes overwhelming Amazon.com.
The paralysis of of “too much stuff” is where the Canopy service and its new iOS app comes in. The team hand-curates items from the giant Amazon marketplace and presents them in an elegant, clean fashion in the new app, which resembles the site. There’s no algorithm at work here. It’s people picking items for people.
To be honest I figured this would be another app that shows me items that I couldn’t afford and frankly don’t care about. The first few things, fancy pants, some expensive speakers were meh, then an inexpensive watch appeared that I could buy as a gift. Then a surfing book. Then a knife. Suddenly, I caught myself adding products to my favorites queue.
Canopy is helping me do my holiday shopping on Amazon without having to wade through the actual site. If you want something like a $150 blanket, it’s there. But there are other gems in the feed that fall into the price range of those with a limited budget.
Currently Canopy is completely curated by humans. But CEO Brian Armstrong also sees value in a hybrid model:
We think there’s huge potential for combining human curation with some smart personalization. So far, we’ve observed that shopping sites tend to be either purely algorithmic or purely manual. We think there’s a sweet spot, where you can still involve human taste, while also surfacing products that are relevant for a particular user.
The app and service have categories that include camping, home, watches, shoes, and apparel for men and women. There’s also a gift area with items for men and women and various personality types like technical, adventurous and athletic.
All of the items are from Amazon and when you decide to buy you’re pushed to Amazon.com on Safari to make the purchase. It’s pretty painless and if you’re a heavy Amazon user, it’s a helpful app to take care of most of your holiday shopping.