ShopNear.me launched its location-based shopping application last month, but that’s not all they are looking to do they’re looking to do in the coming months; they’re trying to take over the mobile shopping scene.
ShopNear.me provides mobile users a way to shop at local boutiques and stores by finding deals and new clothes on their phones. It takes traditional online clothes browsing one step further than other shopping deal aggregators and combines it with geo location, making every sale and every shirt relevant to where a user is.
“Social media has evolved as one of the very important marketing channels, especially for the fashion industry,” said Yuan Zhang, co-founder of ShopNear.me.
At Chloe Rose Boutique in San Francisco, Owner Marissa Olson said that ShopNear.me helps fulfill the store’s marketing goals.
“It is a competitive retail world out there,” said Olson. “Social media allows me to connect with customers, allows them to view what is new and lets us have a really strong personality.”
Shopping apps have started and died before, like the now defunct MyNines which in years past aggregated deals for shopping. There’s also FollowStyle, Luck at Your Service and ShopStyle, but Shopnear.me thinks its different because of its integration with technology.
“The fashion industry is going through a lot of innovations right now,” said Zhang. “We tapped in something very interesting.”
Based in San Francisco at Dogpatch Labs, Shopnear.me will have to deal with the same issues as many startups at Dogpatch when they’re forced out of their tech hub home on Sept. 30. The San Francisco Port Authority gave the boot to all tenants of Pier 38 including Dogpatch Labs, Polaris Ventures, Automattic, True Ventures, and many more. Instagram, the popular location-based photo application (which ShopNear.me loves), once called Pier 38 home as well.
Before getting the boot and before ShopNear.me, Zhang pioneered Lookville, a social website that lets users upload photos of themselves and have them rated by other Lookville’ers. This crowd-sourcing approach to fashion worked to help decide what’s hot and not for the upcoming season, but it couldn’t provide a way to decide where to purchase that snazzy blazer.
Olson said the app takes the ”thinking” and the “searching” out of real brick-and-mortor retail, “I like to think of it as a mobile form of window shopping but the shopper isn’t limited to viewing just the items that have been chosen to be on display” compared to other mobile shopping applications.
Leveraging existing social media channels, ShopNear.me lets users push clothes and deals they find to Facebook and Twitter; they even maintain a blog on Tumblr to cover their social network bases- a strategy works for them. Social enough? There’s more to come.
Users can download the application and begin following shops in their city. They’ll get instant notifications on new arrivals or sales in shops they follow in their area. It’s only available in San Francisco and Las Vegas right now, but the mobile application will launch in New York City soon and shows promise of hitting other large cities around the country.
“Social networks are critical to our business model. Being local and personal is what our product is all about. Our best marketers are our users who love our app and can’t wait to tell their friends about it,” said Zhang
The newest version of ShopNear.me allows users to reserve clothes in stores near them and even get exclusive deals, going beyond the one-day urgency of many location-based shopping applications. The makers of the application plan to incorporate a full blown shopping feature into their application soon, but for now, the community-based fashion app will keep users satisfied.
Zhang said the application will further consumer engagement and company transparency by unveiling two-way discussion features between a customer and a store.
And for the slightly envious, anxious Android users, ShopNear.me should launch on the Google platform in the next six to nine months.