Mobile Fashion Shopping Marketplaces. The Review of Types

For the most of us, words like ‘fashion’ and ‘style’ represent not the runways or haute couture dresses, but our ordinary wardrobe. Beautiful, comfy, and affordable at the same time. And it’s already a well-known fact that modern customers prefer to buy clothes online rather than spending an awful amount of time in the malls and lines.

That’s why mobile developers became so attractive to the idea of building fashion apps. We also couldn’t help but explored the process itself, but today let us offer you a slightly different subject – the mobile marketplaces for selling and buying fashion items of all kinds. Before we proceed, ask yourself...

  • What can you create in this field in order to amaze your users?
  • How to improve the existing technologies with a new approach to the shopping applications?
  • Do you have to promote some brands through an omnichannel marketing strategy?   

If you’re curious about the answers, keep reading.

4 Types of Mobile Fashion Marketplaces for Easy Shopping

“Fashion has always been a repetition of ideas...  
but what makes it new is the way you put it together” (c)  

The last five years of the digital revolution made it so easy to buy any desirable outfit through e-commerce stores. Mobile fashion marketplaces deliver the high fashion literally to our door, providing with style recommendations, selection filters, and worldwide shipment services. There are dozens of the various stylish and shopping applications that already changed the fashion industry on the highest level.

How to choose what to build? Let’s see what types of such apps are hot and successful these days.

Fashion Aggregators

1. E-commerce fashion aggregators

But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to shopping apps because the online carts are still being abandoned by users. It usually happens due to the difficulties with the checkout process, technical issues, or one’s laziness. Also, there are often problems with customers who forget in which fashion shopping app or an online store they found that cool jeans, so they can’t finish the transaction.

A single marketplace for all brands, on the other hand, could fix some of those troubles. And it’s the first type we’ll discuss – e-commerce fashion aggregators. Such platforms allow their customers to look and buy various products from numerous webstores gathered in one place.

However, there would still be some independent online carts. In a nutshell, it could be called a shopping window – you can search but you can't buy all at once. After a user chooses the item, he/she would be redirected to a seller’s webpage to complete the purchasing procedure.

The operation principle of an aggregator could be described by the activity chain below:

Thorough selection of brands based on some criteria and stylist’s advice → Data collection from several fashion sources → Categorizing of all products → Getting profit through advertising

Now, what are the ways for developers to gather the info from different online fashion stores for a shopping marketplace?  

  • Using RSS feeds, or crawling numbers of websites (the most expensive and human-touch requiring option, with the constantly needed developer’s efforts)
  • Asking the brands to upload their catalogs to your app in a chosen format (CSV / XML)
  • Accessing the large publicly-opened data sets
  • Using APIs provided by fashion retailers

But it’s a common practice these days, trying the combination of the listed methods.

2. Pinterest-like affiliate model

Losing the popularity, fashion aggregators might switch to an affiliate model of the e-commerce stores. The main goal is that such model allows an entrepreneur generating revenue in the easiest way – just from items that are placed in the app. There is no requirement for carrying inventories, handling orders, dealing with payments and shipments, or other sales-connected issues.

A fashion aggregator based on this model concentrates on the relationships with specific retailers and brands by establishing strong connections with them, and earning a commission from purchases. This approach already has been successfully tested by famous startups – ShopStyle, Polyvore, Stylect, Fancy, and others.

Monetizing options in this case also will be:

  • In-app ads
  • Being a cost-per-click advertising platform
  • Acting as an affiliated source for driving traffic to the main websites

The affiliate model is very popular nowadays because these marketplaces give customers selective collections of fashion products from numerous brands. In short, they’re online discovery platforms for clothes or accessories that connect clients directly with the sellers.

3. Universal shopping carts

As it is said, it’s the universal cart within an aggregator app that solves the problem with the checkout process. A cart spares the customers the need to switch between the apps or websites to complete a transaction by giving them an actual option to choose and buy products from several stores in one place. Here is a smart business solution that reduces the risk of the cart abandonment by acting as a unified storefront for buyers and a supporter for the young fashion brands.

From a developer’s perspective, this type is a bit more difficult to build because one has to implement in-app payment gateways sparing customers the headache of filling credentials and the shipping info every time they want to shop. User enters it once and then it’s securely stored in the data storage.

On the other side of the coin, such shopping carts strip the sellers of the ability to create their own branded shopping experience. Therefore, this option doesn’t always get to be loved by brands who care about their image.

Anyway, the model is still pretty profitable. Just take a look at famous Lyst app – its founder Chris Morton claims that universal carts bring up to five times higher conversion rates. And any developer knows that this mobile metric is super important for every entrepreneur.

“Create your own style. Let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others” (c)
Anna Wintour

4. Instagram in the world of fashion

Social media marketing is the strongest weapon of all when it comes to product’s promotion. So, it’s reasonable that this model is used by fashion shopping industry as well.

Instagram type means that you sacrifice the shopping cart feature in order to get the Instagram-like photo feed of the items. We all know how social media networks could be infective – once you began scrolling the feed... You may end up stuck there for a while. Here is the user base along with the wide and spreading marketing area.

Social Media Marketing  

One of the latest mega hits from this category – the Spring mobile marketplace that partners with giant brands. It allows them curating and controlling all content in their individual shops while posting photos of items for sale on the app’s feed. Then Spring charges retailers a lower rate from 8 to 12 percent affiliate sales fee on purchases made within the application.

"No one wants to download 50 different sites, and nobody wants to download 50 different apps. That's a bad experience. On a browser, it's not so bad of an experience. But what was waiting on mobile was multi-brand experiences."  (c)

One more cool thing about Spring is that it integrates with existing e-commerce infrastructure of each brand, thus after checkout the fashion stores are responsible for all stages of the products delivery process. Summing it up, an Instagram-like marketplace is a unity of the fashion shops with an option “swipe to pay”.

Get some inspiration

After all, the choice is up to you. But it wouldn’t hurt if you research the existing web services and mobile marketplaces to see what other online stores are offering regarding the purchasing process.

And if you need professional assistance, feel free to get in touch with us! Our team has some experience in the field of trading platforms – you can check our Hawkist app. Time to design your own application using the information from this review and your brave ideas.

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