We are seeing a constant growth of the discovery economy where we are always scouting for something new. Often we are lost in the huge marketplace filled with products and we keep ambling from one place to another. This has given rise to store browsing or surfing online as it is less tiresome and can be done anytime anywhere.
The astonishing mobile transition has given birth to the app economy. Consumers are demanding for a better retail experience on mobiles. There has always been a gap in blending the virtual and real world. Jinhee, the cofounder of Snapette faced some real problem when she moved to London. She wanted to spend the weekend discovering the best boutiques in the city, so researched stores online and planned her route ahead of time. However, once Jinhee found herself in the midst of London’s maze of streets, she couldn’t remember how to get to the various stores.
Jinhee encountered two basic problems that all shoppers experience when embarking on a shopping trip in real life (or “offline”).
- First, there are many web solutions that curate the millions of online products available – for example Polyvore, Shop Style, Amazon, and Zappos, but there was not an equivalent for organizing stores and products offline.
- Secondly, once she was out in the real world away from her computer, there was no way for her to search a platform with exclusively shopping listings to find the boutiques around her.
The magic begins
Sarah and Jinhee created an elegantly simple (and addicting) solution for offline shopping with the Snapette app. The vision was to become the go-to tool to help women shop offline. If a woman is in Soho in New York, the app immediately recognizes her location and provides a visual list of stores that our team has hand selected.
Caitilin Hicks, the Markering Manager at Snapette tells us,
“By “visual” I mean that the app displays virtual storefronts and a user can click on the store to see photos of products available inside. She can quickly browse through stores near her and decide where to go (and see store hours and pull up directions), or she can enter a search term. For instance, she might be in Soho looking for black pumps, so she can simply pull up the app, type “black pumps” and photos of black pumps in stores nearby will appear. She can click on her favorite pair and since all of the snaps are tagged to location, she can find her way to that store. “
Before Snapette, offline shopping was all a matter of chance and luck- both for the shopper and for the store hoping to draw foot traffic inside. The app provides extensive information- visual, location, price, brand, and about the store- that connects shoppers with their favorite products and stores.
Sarah and Jinhee making a mark as women entrepreneurs, disrupting the $400 billion fashion industry
Sarah and Jinhee did extensive research into the future of retail and mobile before approaching investors with the idea of the Snapette app. The projections for the opportunity of mobile to bolster the fashion industry have already come to fruition, and we’ve seen daily and increasing excitement in the press about the huge opportunity for mobile to change the way that people shop. Today Snapette has spread out to almost 12 cities in eight languages and serving sought after names like Nine West, Rebecca Minkogg, Uniqlo and more.
Snapette for shoppaholics
Shopping will continue to be a category that predominately occurs offline. Women especially love shopping in person and feeling the products, and there’s a much higher conversion rate to purchase once you have a shopper in the store versus having them visit your e-commerce website.
Mike Ghaffary, VP of business development at Yelp wrote an article on Techcrunch recently in which he calculates how “local” an industry is likely to be based on scales of how important it is to experience a product, try and touch a product, and whether there are good substitutes of not just the product but the experience of interacting with the product online. His quantitative understanding of the localness of an industry confirms that retail will continue to be primarily something shoppers experience offline.
Snapette as a platform beneficial for retailers
Caitilin gave us a deeper insight into this. When the Snapette app launched in 2011 the content was entirely user-generated photos. Shoppers in stores snapped photos of products they loved and tagged them using our GPS functionality to the store location. In the uploading process they also input brand and price information.
The app accordingly became populated with thousands of beautiful products with price, brand, and location information so that other shoppers could easily find their way to the items. The app acts as a virtual broadcasting device to push out what products are available in stores to shoppers nearby. Each snap is also integrated with Twitter, Facebook, SMS and Tumblr so women browsing the app can share products they find on the app with their friends.
However, the vision was always work directly with retailers, stores, brands, and designers. We soon experienced storeowners and social media managers of brands and retailers reaching out to us requesting to manage their own profiles.
Now 50% of the content on the app is all directly uploaded from brands and designers, and we’ve implemented a dashboard on the backend so that they can easily manage thousands of stores and products at once.
Retailers quickly recognize that the Snapette app should not be confused with yet another social media platform for them to manage. Savvy marketing departments at brands and retailers understand that mobile should be prioritized in their efforts to drive shoppers to stores.
Snapette helps brands to increase foot traffic by driving shoppers directly inside the stores
What was fascinating to Sarah and Jinhee when they launched the app 1.5 years ago was that all the innovation was happening around shopping online and yet 90% of sales are still done in stores. For most large brands and retailers, brick and mortar is still the bread and butter of their business, and yet there weren’t tools or platforms to help those brands and retailers drive foot traffic to their stores before Snapette.
Mobile provides a unique solution to this dilemma because we carry our phones with us everywhere and GPS helps us to inform our decisions about our location in the world around us. Great apps like Foursquare and Yelp exist to help you make decisions about food but before Snapette there was nothing for shopping. Retailers, brands and designers have been very quick to understand the value of Snapette for their business. They’ve never had a tool as targeted as the Snapette app that’s entirely focused on driving shoppers into their stores.
Watch Snapette in action