When it comes to online shopping, consumers are looking for a customized experience that can help them find and purchase whatever they’re looking for with minimal effort. (The last thing you want in your busy schedule is to browse through 25 pages of shoes in order to find that one boot.) That’s why retailers and small companies are releasing shopping apps for fashion girls that feel more interactive and most importantly, more personalized to your individual style desires. These apps fill the void and gaps in the shopping experience that many major retailers can’t. Take consumer preferences, for example. Some big retailers don’t offer an easily accessible way for customers to shop for categories like BIPOC brands or sustainable labels.
“From a consumer standpoint, the experience of shopping online for fashion isn't that great. I think a lot of companies build these really large catalogs, they put more and more items in them every year, and it can become overwhelming to customers,” Terry Boyle, co-founder and CEO of the fashion platform Behold, tells TZR. “It's not nearly as good as the offline experiences.”
An app like Behold can offer shoppers a bespoke experience that a traditional retailer can’t give them. Behold does this by organizing its inventory into shopping verticals. You can shop with filters that lead you directly to local, artisanal, or BIPOC-owned businesses. In addition to what Behold offers, there are shopping platforms like Toward that specifically focus on the eco-conscious consumer market. Toward only offers eco-friendly brands that have met its strict sustainability criteria. Other apps like The Yes have an additional styling feature built in, making it easy for the user to build a virtual closet and curate their style in just a few clicks.
For an app that offers both shopping suggestions and styling tips, look to Mada. Created by Madison Semarjian, she conceived the idea while she was getting ready for a date and encountered the all-pervasive problem of “I have nothing to wear.” “I thought that was so interesting because we have access to the world right now. For the Gen Z crowd, we all grew up with our phones in our pockets, yet we could only still name like three [online shopping] sites,” Semarjian recalls. “So what I really wanted to do was have one form where we can have access to fashion that's very personalized to us. I figured we swipe on our romantic prospects — why can't we do the same with our clothes?”
Mada officially launched in January 2020 and has garnered about 35,000 active users since then. Every outfit you swipe right on (or say “yes” to) goes into your personal style library. You can then access that library to shop the outfits, or the pieces, you swiped right on directly from the app. Over time, Mada will know exactly what kinds of outfits you like and will continue to suggest options that are tailored to your taste.
Social media companies are now realizing they, too, need to capture the attention of shoppers through fun, in-app experiences. According to Layla Amjadi, director of product management at Instagram Shop, each month over 300 million users are browsing and shopping the products on Instagram and Facebook, with 90% of Instagram users following at least one brand online. Amjadi explains that the majority of consumers today are looking for items and brands that have already been vetted by people they follow — be it friends or professional creators. Think of it as a digital incarnation of word-of-mouth.
“The reason why we built shopping on Instagram is the same reason why we build most new things on Instagram — we listened to Instagrammers, and we listened to our business community and we see what they're trying to do,” Amjadi says. “As we think about the future of shopping, I always say that if we do our jobs right and build the right products, given where the demand is, most people will discover most brands from other people on Instagram.”
Ultimately, the goal of fashion apps is to make shopping feel less like a chore and more personalized. Scroll ahead to download the latest shopping apps that will give you that customized fashion experience.
The Mada App
This app is as easy to use as Tinder — swipe left or right on outfit recommendations to let Mada know what kinds of fashion products you’re looking to purchase. After downloading the app, Mada will prompt you to answer several multiple choice questions like “How would you describe your style?” and “How would you dress for work?” It will then utilize artificial intelligence to offer shopping suggestions curated by the app’s AI to fit your tastes and needs. The more you use Mada, the better it will cater to your style preferences. The app launched in 2020 and has already garnered a reputable roster of partners, including retail giants like Nordstrom, Shopbop, and Bloomingdale’s, as well as 2,600 brand partners ranging from Gucci to Ganni.
Download Mada App here.
If you want a shopping app that is fully tailored to your social values, download Behold. The platform currently offers 70+ unique brands across verticals such as BIPOC-owned, sustainable, vegan, and handmade-artisanal businesses. To shop from a BIPOC-owned brand, for example, select the “BIPOC Owned” shopping vertical in Behold’s drop-down list of categories — and you’re all set to browse away. After taking the initial style quiz, you’re also presented with a lineup of outfits to purchase and brands to shop from. If you’re not ready to take the leap and download the app just yet, you can browse the website’s offerings. “We do most of our interaction right now on the website and the mobile-optimized website, and we kind of graduate people to the app over time,” Boyle says. “There's kind of a hurdle for customers to download new apps, and so it's easier to meet them on the website and mobile-optimized web.”
This new shopping app is also based on the dating app-like premise of saying “yes” or “no” to items and brands, thus curating your shopping options with every decision you make. The application currently offers over 100,000 items from 250+ brands that range from luxe designer labels such as Prada, Bottega Veneta, and Khaite to affordable brands like Levi’s and Zara. Most recently, the mobile-first platform also launched its own website, which uses the same AI technology to build a personalized store around each customer.
Download The Yes here.
The popular buy-now-pay-later service also has its very own app that provides an all-in-one shopping experience, allowing users to browse options from a multitude of brands and retailers all at once, without having to switch from store to store. In addition to splitting purchases into smaller payments, the app also allows its users to create shareable product collections and curate inspiration boards. Shoppers will be sent price drop notifications and the app also provides exclusive rewards.
Download Klarna here.
This styling app was co-founded by celebrity stylist Karla Welch, whose clients include Tracee Ellis Ross and Justin Bieber. Based on your preferred fashion aesthetic and the brands you love to shop from, the app will match you with a stylist that was personally trained by Welch herself. Then, you can choose to subscribe to the Major ($90/month) or Mini ($40/month) version of the service for virtual assistance with helping you curate your personal style that still feels very hands-on.
The Mini version includes two style boards with shoppable, stylist-curated picks, a one-on-one chat with a stylist, and a personalized style mood board. You also receive style and beauty advice and new brand introductions. As for the Major, it includes a larger number of style boards, as well as a phone call with your stylist and unlimited style advice for the duration of one month.
Download WISHI here.
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