Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Verishop, the luxury e-commerce site created by former Snapchat Chief Business Officer Imran Khan, expects to sell $50 million of gross merchandise volume in 2020, sources tell Axios. It's also launching a social-shopping experience that will include influencers and a personalized feed of content.

Why it matters: Social media apps like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat have made efforts over the past few years to offer users a better shopping experience. Verishop is doing the opposite by launching a trusted marketplace first and a social media experience around it second.

Be smart: This strategy has been used by Chinese tech giants for years, and is now starting to make its way to the U.S.

  • Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has long included social experiences like live video chat in its Taobao marketplace to build trust between shoppers, merchants and the platform.

What we're hearing: According to a source familiar with the expansion, the goal is to have influencers — both brands and individuals — be able to create posts through a self-service platform that that are distributed on a customized feed.

  • The feed will launch in the next six months. Over time, influencers and brands will be able to monetize their posts, based on the goods purchased from their content, according to a source familiar with the plans.
  • The company will use artificial intelligence to recommend the products from the social posts to users if those products are available on Verishop, or it will recommend products similar to the ones featured in the post if they aren't.

By the numbers: When Verishop launched a year ago, it had over 180 brands signed on to the platform. Today it has over 600 brands and 12,000 different product choices. By the end of the year, it is expected to have sold $50 million worth of goods.

The big picture: Verishop's aim is to create an online experience akin to a digital shopping mall.

  • While other big retailers like eBay and Amazon dominate the e-commerce experience for inexpensive or used goods, Verishop is aiming to create a single marketplace for luxury goods only.
  • That one-stop shop mentality means that consumers can buy, return and customize their shopping experience across dozens of brands on all one website, similar to the way they would shop at a mall in real life: all of the stores in one building.

The bottom line: It's easier said than done. Amazon tried to launch a social media shopping discovery feature called "Spark" in 2017, but shut it down in 2019 in favor of a less formal feature called #FoundItOnAmazon.

  • It also faces some competition from other e-commerce upstarts like "The Yes," which are trying to redefine the dying department store business online.

Go deeper

Snapchat adds in-app voter registration targeted at young people

Credit: Snapchat

Snapchat is rolling out a slew of new tools and features to help prepare young people to vote in the November election.

Why it matters: Snapchat has unparalleled reach into Gen Z and Millennial demographics. The tools it's building are meant to guide those specific populations to more resources to help them register to vote and form a voting plan. Other platforms focusing on voter registration are doing so with a much wider user population in mind.

Apple's antitrust fight turns Epic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Millions of angry gamers may soon join the chorus of voices calling for an antitrust crackdown on Apple, as the iPhone giant faces a new lawsuit and PR blitz from Epic Games, maker of mega-hit Fortnite.

Why it matters: Apple is one of several Big Tech firms accused of violating the spirit, if not the letter, of antitrust law. A high-profile lawsuit could become a roadmap for either building a case against tech titans under existing antitrust laws or writing new ones better suited to the digital economy.

Survey: Fears grow about Social Security’s future

Data: AARP survey of 1,441 U.S. adults conducted July 14–27, 2020 a ±3.4% margin of error at the 95% confidence level; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Younger Americans are increasingly concerned that Social Security won't be enough to wholly fall back on once they retire, according to a survey conducted by AARP — in honor of today's 85th anniversary of the program — given first to Axios.

Why it matters: Young people's concerns about financial insecurity once they're on a restricted income are rising — and that generation is worried the program, which currently pays out to 65 million beneficiaries, won't be enough to sustain them.