Meet Ryan Charles, co-founder of Consmr, a new social sharing website for consumer packaged goods. The site allows you to rate, review, and check-in to grocery and drugstore products, which can then be shared with friends through your social networks.
Consmr’s participation in IdeaCOMM offers a truly unique opportunity for attendees to learn about and rate every ingredient used to create IdeaCOMM dishes. Attendees will get full access to a special preview version of the site to check out all of the ingredients listed on Consmr.com. We are excited to see what you think of the ingredients, so be sure to return to Consmr.com and rate them after the event. review them after ingredients.
Danielle Gould: What is the inspiration behind Consmr?
Ryan Charles: After shopping at grocery and drug stores on a regular basis, I realized that my selection of products still revolved around traditional word of mouth and trial and error experiences. There was no “go to” social resource where I could share the products I was using and share my opinion with my social networks. While there were ubiquitous resources on the Web for categories like movies, electronics, local businesses and others, the consumer packaged goods industry lacked a social destination. When you consider that within the first 15 minutes of your day you’ve probably used a dozen products from cereal to shampoo, you can see there’s an opportunity to create a social approach to these products.
DG: Could you describe Consmr’s features?
RC: On Consmr.com users can rate each product based on their own experiences. We encourage you to discuss your personal experience and syndicate your opinion to your social networks. When a user is actively using a product, they can ‘check in’ and broadcast a message to their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Your friends have an opportunity to engage you in conversation about the products you’re using as they see your interactions in their news feed or Twitter stream. To reward users for their active participation on Consmr, we’ve created a system of virtual rewards known as “flair.” Each piece of flair symbolizes expertise in a particular category such as frozen foods or represents other valued contributions to the Consmr community.
DG: Where do you get the data about consumer packaged goods?
RC: Users can easily add products to our database. We’ve painstakingly seeded hundreds of the most popular consumer packaged goods, but we encourage users to add their favorites. It’s a very easy way to earn flair and standing in the Consmr community. When you don’t see that great yogurt or shampoo you swear by on the site, just add it!
DG: How are you innovating the way we consume and interact with food?
RC: We believe we’re changing the conversation about products. Traditional word of mouth has typically been a powerful form of communication for consumer packaged goods, but it hasn’t evolved much in the digital age. By tying the conversation about products to your social streams, we’re redefining the way people share product interactions with their friends. When it comes to store bought food, the number of skus has grown tremendously over the past 10 years. Whether it’s a diet food, gluten-free, low sugar, organic, etc, there are hundreds of new products in those categories every year. Maybe you’d like to try an organic alternative from Applegate Farms, but you want to know if it’s any good. With Consmr, now you can.
DG: What is most exciting to you about food and tech?
I believe we all want to make informed choices. We want to know what’s healthy and what’s going to taste the best. More recently we’ve wanted to know where a grocery item comes from and how it’s produced. Technology provides us with tools to source this information and ultimately to access in a fast and easy way. Maybe you’ll buy a product in the future because it’s the best combination of taste and quality and you know they conserve water via advanced drip irrigation technology. Eventually we’ll have a generation that’s able to make informed decisions on the food they eat throughout their lives, and that’s exciting.
DG: Why are you participating in IdeaCOMM?
RC: IdeaCOMM is bringing together an audience interested in the farm to table process. We want to engage that audience in a way that sparks discussion of the products they use at home. By focusing on the ingredients presented at IdeaCOMM, we’re introducing the audience to sharing their opinions on the components that make up meals at home.