Whenever I go shopping for clothes in San Francisco I tend to just focus on the area around Union Square. Two reasons: I know what I want and where I want it there, and I’m usually short on time. But it’s nice to know that I can cut down on time even further by using ShopNear.Me.
The App’s Usability
ShopNear.Me a new iOS app that gives users information about sales and arrivals at stores they care about. Users can also set up alerts for their favorite stores, and browse the app by products so as not to miss out on a great piece by sticking to their usual stores. Without waiting until there’s time to visit new stores on a whim, users can browse products in their San Francisco neighborhood of interest for goodies they love. Though right now the app features mainly boutiques in Hayes and the Marina, the team is working to expand coverage into the Mission and SOMA.
And the best part, is that coming soon, users will be able to reserve items while on the go.
You won’t have to be torn between seeing an alert go by about beautiful shoes you don’t want to miss out on or attending a startup’s launch party. You can do both!
I recently had a nice chat with co-founder Yuan Zhang, whose role entails business development, marketing, PR, raising funding, and investor relationships. Phew! But she said it doesn’t feel like work.
According to Zhang, shopping is “a visual experience”, and this app fits that desire of consumers. There are apps out there that list store directories, or sites like Yelp, where users can write reviews of their shopping experiences, but no real visual way to find out what’s inside stores in the area quickly. (Talk about finding a perfect niche in need of some help).
Other team members include Programmer Ben Wong and Designer Loc Ngo (co-founders of Startuply), and Programmer Steve Zu (formerly of social gaming company Lolapps).
The Boutique Perspective
To get the boutique perspective, I took a quick trip to meet with Marissa Olson, Owner of Chloe Rose, a women’s clothing boutique on Union Street.
Olson, in no way new to fashion, or online marketing, said what first drew her to using the app for her store was that she was approached about it.
She finds that to keep her store running smoothly and market online, she does what every boutique owner should do- she has a checklist of promotional things she does. She updates Facebook and Twitter at least once a day if possible and ShopNear.Me when new items arrive in the store.
ShopNear.Me really offers a “store front” to boutiques. With the pretty pictures and thoughtful search options, I’m excited to watch this app take off.