The tech start-ups changing the way we shop

Retail is big business, but the little guy can always make an impact. Business expert and freelance writer, Zoe Efstathiou, takes a look at three start-ups that are changing the face of the retail industry.

In the pursuit of downloads, app developers are constantly seeking to invent new and innovative ways to enhance our daily lives. By facilitating communication via technology such as Whatsapp, entertaining us with Angry Birds, or making it easier for us to get around using services like Uber, there’s no question that the app market is one of the most game-changing and cutting-edge sectors around.

shopping on app

One of the latest arenas to be disrupted by app technology is the world of fashion. With start-ups across the world competing to change the way we shop, browsing on the high street may eventually seem like a charmingly outdated pursuit. Here are three of the most original and ground-breaking free fashion apps around.

KNOMI:  turning high end purchases into a social experience

Designed by bankers turned tech innovators, fashion app KNOMI aims to take the social experience of shopping with friends and turn it into a virtual one. Having carried out research into shopping habits, the app’s founders, Hans-Christian Zappel and Markus Ehrnrooth, discovered that individuals are much more likely to seek feedback from friends before making fashion purchases compared to other types of transaction. They created KNOMI so that users can share images of fashion items with networks of close pals, enabling them to discuss potential buys before parting with cash. Despite partnering with brands and retailers such as Mulberry, Farfetch, Moda Operandi, Acne, Joseph and Browns Fashion to create a database of over 400,000 products, KNOMI’s emphasis on providing a social experience is what differentiates it from other fashion apps.

Donde Fashion: shop according to your style preferences

Having grown frustrated with trawling through retailers’ websites looking for specific styles of clothing, Liat Zakay, a coder in the Israeli Intelligence, decided to turn her attention to the world of fashion. She created Donde Fashion, the world’s first visual shopping search engine, which allows users to refine what they are looking for simply by clicking on icons representing different colours, patterns and styles, such as v-neck or midi hem. The app then searches through a database of more than 6,000 fashion and accessory brands, such as Zara, Banana Republic and H&M, to find items matching the user’s preferences. Users only need to enter their shipping and payment information once, making the shopping experience easier than ever.

The Hunt: a community-powered fashion app

The Hunt relies on the knowledge of its fashion savvy community to help users track down specific items. With high profile backers, including actor Ashton Kutcher and model Tyra Banks, the San Francisco-based tech platform allows users to post a picture of an item they may have seen on the street or on social media along with their size and budget, before appealing to the community to help them track it down. The app send users to third party e-commerce sites to complete their ‘hunt’, with users recommending products from retailers such as Topshop, River Island and The Hunt has over three million registered users and more than five million hunts have taken place since it launched in the US in 2013 and in the UK last year.

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