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Spring shopping app attracts fashion brands and investorsBy
In reflection of the growing excitement around mobile shopping and applications, a bevy of fashion labels and investors have embraced Spring, an app offering a highly curated experience targeting younger shoppers as well as many brand-friendly tools.
With names such as Helmut Lang, Marchesa, Alice and Olivia, Citizens of Humanity and Rebecca Minkoff attached, Spring has also attracted the attention of investors, recently raising $25 million from a group of investors that includes Google Ventures and Groupe Arnault. The growth of apps such as Spring and numerous other curated shopping apps points to how the shopping mall experience is increasingly happening on mobile for young shoppers.
“Everybody understands that mobile is growing,” said Scott Michaels, executive vice president of Atimi, Vancouver, Canada.
“If you are a young designer and you want to sell to this demographic you have to be selling on mobile,” he said.
“If you aren’t mobile savvy, something like Spring is a great start. It is a great platform to get published into and sell from.
A chance to browse
On the Spring app, users can shop new arrivals from a variety of brands across categories every day. This includes exclusive product launches, secret sample sales, one-of-a-kinds and collections curated by top editors and influencers.
Users can follow brands to personalize their shopping experience.
Spring gives brands control over how their items are presented
Apple Pay is integrated into Spring, streamlining the checkout experience by enabling users to tap to pay.
Spring also offers Swipe to pay, with users required to type in their shipping and billing information once to enable the service for fast and easy purchases.
Other features include the ability to save products for later and share items with a single tap.
The experience is much more geared toward browsing on Spring compared to Amazon, with shoppers able to find similar types of brands all in one place, per Mr. Michaels.
Spring does not necessarily offer unique merchandise – some of the same items can be found on Amazon.
One way Spring is trying to stand out is by offering more tools for brands to showcase their merchandise within the app. Basically, there are a variety of templates that brands can choose from to create their own storefront within the app, giving them more control over how their merchandise is presented than on some other apps.
This is helping Spring to attract higher-end clothing lines than are not found on Amazon, where merchandise is typically present against a minimalist clean white background.
Amazon’ s comparatively more minimalist approach to merchandising for the same product.
Some of the brands on Spring are engaging in direct-to-consumer ecommerce for the first time.
“The idea of mobile malls has been around for a long time,” Mr. Michaels said. “What we are seeing now is more curated experiences, like on Spring.
Making the cut
There has been no shortage of third-party shopping apps in the past few years, as developers, marketers and others look to find the right formula for successfully leveraging the fact that shoppers have a mobile phone nearby almost all the time.
Some have been more successful than others.
For Spring to keep the momentum going, it will need to continue to attract the kinds of brands its audience is looking for.
Spring could also present an opportunity for young designers to gain a following if it is easier to get their merchandise up on the app than to, say, get into Bloomingdale’s.
“Very few retailers have commerce enabled apps, because an app requires a huge level of marketing to drive discovery and usage,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president for business development and sales with Unbound Commerce, Boston. “There’s only room for so many apps on a smart phone, and the vast majority of apps are only used once or twice before they are deleted.
“The notion of an aggregated retail marketplace has been around for a long time, with Amazon being the most obvious example,” he said.
“The biggest challenge is, in a very competitive landscape, will it be able to drive discovery and downloads and usage. I imagine they will attempt to overcome this with exclusives and special pricing and a point system to reward sharing and usage.”
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York
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