To avoid the disaster of online shopping fails, we created a photo-sharing app, called I TRIED. It works as a platform for customer photos, showcasing the clothes they have bought online. It is an android app, created with an app building software called Appy Pie.
Using the app:
1. Sharing: Posting your image – tagging the item code and features (brand, size etc.)
2. Searching: Searching the app for a specific item using the item code.
3. Scrolling: Scrolling through users images and filtering your search by the tagged features. If you find something you like, you copy the item code, find it on the retailer’s site and purchase.
In the future, the item code would be used to directly link between the app and the online stores.
These are the components we put together and built, with the help of the software:
- Splash screen for loading
- Log In / Sign up / Forgotten password / End User License Agreement
- Two menu pages, accessed through hidden affordances in the top two corners.
- Fitting Room – the photo sharing feed (and search by key word) – once signed in, the app always opens up on this page
- Item Search – for advanced and item specific searches
- About – information page with rules
- Blog – a page collecting content from the RSS feed of a blog made as an incentive for app usage.
- User profiles, list of followers and following.
- Individual screens for viewing images.
There is a need for our product in the market, due to pressure for body inclusivity and user generated content taking over marketing. Customer images of clothes are already being shared and searched for, in reviews and social media – it just takes time and effort, which this app relieves the customer from.
We collected data in a survey that confirmed the frustration with the current online shopping issues, and that the target market saw our app as a solution that they would be interested in.
While we are on Appy Pie, their team takes care of the data collected form our and implements their own measures according to their ethics and regulation. If we were to move out of that, when collecting user data we would have to prioritise implementing strict security measures as well as good server systems to hold it.
We’re halfway there by providing privacy measures and a copyright disclaimer, giving us a sub-licence to the content posted in the app – the same one that Instagram implements.
We used an app cost calculator which estimated our cost to almost 40 thousand dollars.
However, we already have a working, downloadable app for free on Appy Pie. We could use this as a trial to see whether it is worth investing into all the further expansions. To keep costs low, we could stay on Appy Pie and use their ‘custom app’ tool to avoid hiring a developer. Investing in their monthly ‘platinum service’ of only 40 pounds per month, would spread our app to more platforms through their distribution services.
An ethical and technological implication we considered was having the right content posted, which makes it essential to have someone monitor the app. Depending on the future size of our app, we would only need someone part time. Until we would gather sponsorships that would let us expand, we would manage to keep the costs as low as 7 thousand pounds a year.
This app doesn’t just benefit the public but also the brands, so we have written out many strategies for potential partnerships with brands to allow our app to be sold for free. Sponsorships would be possible, because the app is there to improve the shopping experience, which is something that stores would want to invest in. If we only allow for pictures from brands that we have partnered with, it would make brands want to sponsor us to get in front of their competition.
Other future developments:
- further interlinks and algorithms – figure out what the user is interested in to provide suggestions
- buying items straight from the app and accessing the app straight from the store
- expand into other products, not just clothes (amazon has a huge amount of reviews with pictures of products)
- posting straight from your social media platforms
- searching for users that look like you
We used McLuhan’s Tetrad to confirm how our app fits into the technology environment.
I TRIED improves the online clothes shopping experience, by enhancing the capacity of sharing and finding customer pictures. It possibly obsolesces the use of apps like Instagram to find customer photos, and the use of fitting rooms for trying on clothes.
It retrieves the times when people would order clothes that they’ve seen look good on their friends, family and colleagues, rather than models. However, when pushed to the extreme, it could reverse if brands would use it as another commercial platform for advertising. If the model-like users began outshining the rest of the users, it would simply become an extension of the current advertising of clothes and defeat the original purpose of body inclusivity and diversity.