Yesterday, a good friend sent over a link to this article about Ziplist. For those who don’t know, Ziplist is a little tool that allows people to clip recipes from Pinterest and create grocery lists and organize recipes using a bookmarklet. But unlike a ton of existing bookmarklets out there, one little difference separates Ziplist from the rest: it adds actionable context to the action of bookmarking. It’s the “What can I actually DO with this?” part of bookmarking that is missing right now.
Instead of labeling or categorizing the image and throwing it out into what might as well be outerspace, Ziplist pulls in the recipe ingredients from the image. How does it do this? Well, in non-techy terms, it automatically pulls in the ingredients of the recipe, and is able to do so because Ziplist partners with a ton of cooking blogs and recipe sites. The bookmarklet recognizes where the image is sourced, and queries its accompanying recipe from the original site. With Ziplist, it’s all about the source of the image, and pulling context from that.
…CONTEXT! This is something that adds a lot of value to anyone interested in doing more than just looking at a bunch of images of recipes and trying to figure out what’s in it. This makes bookmarking useful in a way that moves bookmarking towards something actionable for anyone using it. This action? Using the recipe to actually buy ingredients; using the ingredients list to actually go grocery shopping. When I tried it out to see how it worked, I realized how useful this must be for busy moms or people who entertain a lot. Not only can these people still use Pinterest to “discover” new recipes and treats, now they don’t have to leave Pinterest to get the information they need, and apply this information to their lives.
I am trying to wrap my head around how this could apply to ecommerce. The reason Ziplist is even doable is because recipes are comprised of very specific ingredients; there are a variety of brands of black beans you can buy, but the ingredients just say “black beans.” With ecommerce, there are definitive tags that could be used; say, “blouse” and “pants”, but there are button-up blouses, sheer blouses, short-sleeved blouses, etc. You get my point. But how can we make bookmarking more useful, and add value, beyond organization, to people shopping online? What additional context can we add? I’m driving myself insane thinking about it.
On a last note, there is a downside to something like Ziplist: instead of clicking on the image and following it to the original source (which is great for those bloggers and sites), users can now bypass this step, and get the ingredients and contextual information right from Ziplist. They must have had a way of convincing these sites and bloggers that this was a good thing for them, probably in the form of giving these sites new fans and “lifetime customers” in the long run. Not sure.
I can almost guarantee I’ll have a dream about it now.