social discovery

Decoded Fashion - News - Discovery Apps

Over the last year two distinct groups of fashion apps have emerged, and both use the element of discovery. Up first, the app that uses the intuitive ‘like’/dislike’ method and secondly, the image recognition app used to eliminate the need for semantic word searches. See if you’d like to get more closely acquainted with some of these:

Tinder-inspired browsing apps

Fashion startups have tried to leverage the intuitive game features of the hugely popular Tinder, whose concept was derived from ‘Hot or Not.’ The result: a new kind of product browsing and discovery experience.

Stylect: The self-proclaimed ‘Tinder for shoes.’ Users can browse through a wide array of shoes, having to decide whether they ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ the shoe before the next pair flashes up. Push notifications then indicate when ‘liked’ items go on sale (more about the app here).

Mallzee: This app also requires users to ‘accept or reject’ apparel. It then uses this information to construct a customer profile and recommend other items. A social voting system which only lets the user purchase an item if it is approved by their friends can also be put into place (read more about it here).

Moda Operandi app: The runway pre-order service makes it possible to ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ items straight off the runway. Push notifications then inform users if outfits they ‘liked’ become available for pre-order (read more about this here).

Visual discovery apps

Customers upload photographs of products they’ve seen, the app waves it’s “magic wand” using image recognition software to suggest an array of similar product.

Snap Fashion: Customers can upload an image of a piece of clothing and then browse similar items according to colour or brand. Partners include high street and luxury brands such as Forever21, Asos, Ted Baker and Net-A-Porter.

ASAP54: Again, users can take a picture of an item to find something similar. The visual search combs through over a million products from 150 different retailers. If the right item still isn’t found, a real-life in-house stylist can be called upon, who will then send five product suggestions within 24 hours (read more about the app here).

Style-Eyes: This app works with over 400 high street brands and retailers, allowing for the discovery of “real-girl budget” versions of designer pieces. Search results can be filtered by brand or price, and push notifications are sent when favourite pieces go on sale.

A challenge that all of these apps face is that different users have different motivations for using them. Whilst some want exact results, others might just be browsing; high accuracy may ruin the fun element of discovery. This leaves space for further diversification and specialisation.

As AKQA’s Ben Jones mentioned at Decoded Fashion London, “maybe [the key to success in mobile] is thinking about what people do on the phone, the context of what they’re doing on their phone and the context they are in when taking their phone out to access the brand; defining that experience in a completely different way.”

Reported by Anna Abrell


During our latest meetup, Decoded Fashion’s showcase: Rising Social Discovery, we introduced three fashion websites that will captivate you, Polyvore, Lyst and Bib & Tuck. All three have made fashion more accessible to the online user, while also creating a fashion community where users can share styles and surround themselves with trustworthy fashion aficionados.

Polyvore, a fashion platform where users can mix and max their favorite items from any e-commerce site on the web, has grown quite a lot since it started in 2005, but co-founder Jess Lee (Skyping in above) said that collaborating with brands was one of the most influential moves. She explained that it has attracted more shoppers—around 20 million users monthly—along with valuable partnership that have contributed to its popularity. Building brand ambassadors was also stressed, and the company’s main focus is still to remain loyal to their customers and always show how important they are to them.

Lyst, which brings together hundreds of brands and retailers’ ecommerce sites into one place to make shopping more personalized, also stressed the importance of building partnerships, be it with brands or bloggers. Lyst has reached out to inspirational style celebrities and popular bloggers, such as Nina Garcia and Sincerely Jules. Vice President of Business Development Hilary Peterson advised that a partnership is always a great way to get started. If the option is there, take it. Lyst now has partners in over 120 countries, but Peterson noted that the main growth comes from mobile visits—exactly why the Lyst app drops in two weeks.

Bib+Tuck, launched in November 2012, relies on building customer loyalty rather than brand partnerships, as the site specializes in vintage resale. The site allows women to “shop without spending.” How does this work? Users can post pieces they no longer want and sell them to other community members for Bib+Tuck currency, Bucks. Then, these Bucks can be used to buy a different item on the site. It’s a virtual clothes swap.

Since the site is still fairly new, their goal at this point is to create a brand identity and personality, understand who their customers are in order to target that specific user. Co-founder Sari Azout expressed their devotion to putting as much attention to the customers as to the company, making the customer feel like they belong to a community, not a marketplace.