The increasing amount of trust people place in online stores has expanded into the online social shopping world, where a retailer’s interactions with customers happen through mobile shopping areas. While hanging a ‘sale’ sign on a shop window may attract potential buyers who walk past, in the digital age this tradition is more like running blind.
Online social shopping allows retailers to find and target their exact market and connect to the people who buy, wear, and promote their brands. Everyone uses social media to connect and so marketplaces like web stores and apps are popping up to bundle together like-minded customers who endorse, share and buy products.
Sydney startup buybye has created an ecommerce app that provides customers with an online social shopping store, creating a new social shopping experience. Customers and brands can follow and communicate with one another to make offers and deals on products and services.
buybye works by having create a personalised shopping store where they can search and buy new or pre-loved fashion items, share these items on their social network and follow their favourite brands, celebrities and bloggers around the world. The app comes with a buy button, where retailers and individual sellers can link a picture directly to a product page, while users can also upload an image of a celebrity wearing particular shoes and the app will connect the shopper to the retailers who sell them.
Founder of buybye George Gallo understands that these are tough times for traditional retail stores, and he thinks the app can help.
“They have the burden of high rents, staff fees, and marketing costs, not to mention the costs of getting external help from programmers, graphic designers and social media specialists just to maintain their profile. Physical shops seem to be closing quicker than they are opening,” he said.
“I envision [the fashion industry] to now be about more interaction with customers through the mobile shopping area. So where I see it is people like more of a personal connection where people can communicate back and forth and have the tool to do that, which my app is an all in one solution for buying and selling and connecting to your customers.”
One of the app’s marketing tools is a custom category called $elltag that helps promote stores and products to shoppers who express interest in their products. This category helps retailers stay competitive and push out their products to like-minded customers. $elltag is a custom keyword that works like a bidding system so browsing customers will see the items featuring the $elltag first. In a way, this digitises the ‘on sale’ rack that customers usually gravitate towards in a shopping centre.
Gallo explained that every time a retailer or seller posts an item, they are connected directly to the right people. “There’s no more waiting for customers, you actually post to them and they don’t have to wait to come in. So it’s actually that interactivity where you add a product.”
Online shoppers buy and sell products through a seamless transaction, using a four digit pin check out process. Gallo explains for each sale and transaction a five percent merchant fee is charged, much like a clip of the ticket module.
“Instead of people getting likes, the app comes with a buy button where people can buy a product when it’s shared, so it kind of replaces likes with sales, which is quite cool for bloggers or people who are influencers. They can now endorse a product and sell the product rather than getting redirected to a website and having to find the product and go through the five step process. Now it’s a one step, talk about it and buy it,” he said.
Gallo believes online app stores like buybye will overtake web stores, through their ease of user connectivity and their unique and more effective advertising tools. Another feature of buybye is video advertising where retailers can upload a one minute clip and customers can buy the products shown in that clip. For example a retailer can upload a clip of a makeup artist talking about a product and then customers can buy anything that is featured in the video.
Video platforms that connect viewers to products that appear inside branded videos are the future of advertising and have already crept into the market as the Shazam for T.V and ecommerce. Brisbane startup Pixmoto is one such piece of technology that allows customers to click on the products they view in videos, taking consumers directly to the product’s landing page.
buybye is using a similar tool to advertise and market on video platforms that replace consumers’ likes and shares with actual buys. Coming from a retail background, Gallo understands the frustration of sitting and waiting for a customer to arrive in store. Even still today retailers rely on sending out emails to inform customers of sales or hanging posters on windows. Through these online app stores, however, the power of social media and sharing can be harnessed and tracked, giving retailers the power to see who their typical online buyer is and target them directly.
The app was first launched in January this year and has been fully self funded, with Gallo now looking to raise between $1-2 million. So far buybye has already engaged with 40,000 users with over 380 retail stores uploading and selling items. The app is currently hosting some big name brands including SABATINI, Oliver Mason, Watch Exchange, and Clearskincare Clinics.
Before the end of the year Gallo aims to expand into the US market and set up a base in New York, where fashion and technology go hand in hand. The expansion will open Australian shoppers up to national and international brands, where they can follow, promote, share and buy some of the top fashion names in the industry.
Image: Talia Neustadt and George Gallo. Source: Supplied