Yesterday (Aug. 14), VentureBeat reported on Spring, a brand-new iOS app that promotes fashion brands directly to consumers. The app curates "lifestyle imagery" of selected products to appeal to users and of course, to generate sales.
"(Spring) is not serving as an intermediary like flash shopping sites — Spring holds no inventory, it just connects you with a brand’s existing ecommerce infrastructure," explains VentureBeat's Devindra Hardawar. Spring takes a small cut ("far below the 10 percent fee affiliate sites usually take," according to Spring's creator, David Tisch.
It's an interesting business model: Mobile referral engine for fashion brands.
The app seems like a cost effective way to create more brand awareness. As a consumer, it's nice to be able to find an item you like and order it from one place. You don’t need to set up multiple accounts, and you can manage your online purchases/app purchases from one location.
I’m not sure if you'd see the same item appear from more than one brand, but if you did, it would be a great way to compare prices as well. I believe once the payment, shipping info, etc. is set up, the purchase is completed with the click of a button so this is both great for convenience to the user, and I’m sure will result in a lot of impulse buys, which is good for the app and the retailer.
Spring's convenience factor will surely result in many impulse buys.
On the other hand, Spring is reliant on the brand to fulfill customer orders, so if the brand's e-commerce execution falters, the consumer may judge the app, rather than the brand. This could create some bad reviews for the app rather than the brand.
One could argue Spring works like Pinterest (which is making its own foray into e-commerce), in that it curates based on your taste for brands and things. Pinterest indeed does that, however, as an avid user I am not entirely sure I would use Pinterest to make purchases because its range of products is so broad... I feel by trying to do everything there will be certain sectors that fail. A lot of pins on Pinterest do not actually link to the appropriate place to find said item as well. Often it is a clunky experience leading to a dead link, or a website’s home page –- not necessarily the particular item I clicked on. If there were an e-commerce component, I may not trust the path to purchase. All of that said, I have not seen it yet :)
In the end, there’s a market for an app like this. In other words, If it generates sales for its client brands, the app makes money.