When done well, iPad-enabled shopping experiences have been paying off for e-commerce sites. Take for example, Fab.com, which is forecasting the iPad to account for a quarter of its revenue in two years’ time. But unfortunately, not all online retailers have yet to capitalize on this trend. By year-end 2011, none of the top retailers’ sites offered an iPad-optimized version, and many didn’t offer a native iPad app, either.
Enter Shopmox. Launching today, this iPad app aims to bring the mall to the iPad by incorporating 26 stores from half a dozen or so retailers, including Anthropologie, Gap, Banana Republic, Urban Outfitters, Fossil, Old Navy, and Gap Kids, to name a few.
The company was created by the core team from WedSnap, a FB Fund winner back in 2008, which was acquired by wedding site The Knot in 2009. The team also created The Knot Wedding Magazine, a 2011 Appy Award winner for best iPad publishing app. Given their background and experience, it’s clear these guys know their target market well (and, glancing through the various stores, it’s primarily women). There are more women’s stores in the app than there are men’s, as Shopmox features not just women’s wear, but also clothes for maternity and for children – and yes, typically it’s women buying those items. But the men’s market is addressed through stores like Gap Men and Banana Republic Men, for example.
According to co-founder Kevin Lister, the choice to target women was not accidental. “Women and men shop differently,” he says. “Shopmox is meant to be a fun and addictive experience, like shopping in a mall. Even for the men’s stores, we expect women to be the primary users. Rather than trying to please everyone, we are laser-focused on the female shopping experience.”
Also, although much of the app is focused on clothing retailers, there are a couple of stores that hint at Shopmox’s ability to expand to other verticals: Anthropologie Home and Urban Outfitters Apartment. Lister says they’ll be aggressively expanding into home and decor next. Currently there are six retailers live, and four more are launching soon, he adds.
Beyond just aggregating the online offering of various retailers into an iPad-friendly format, Shopmox also works to personalize the experience for its users. You can follow the stores you like in the app, which allows Shopmox to create a special “boutique” just for you. ”Each morning, we generate a personalized boutique based on the stores you are following,” explains Lister. “The personalized boutique currently includes new products and sales items from the stores you love. But we will be adding product recommendations and curated content. We also notify you when a product you like goes on sale,” he says.
One area which leaves room for improvement is the checkout process. Although Shopmox offers a universal shopping cart, checkout still directs you to each retailer’s site to complete the transaction. And many of the retailers’ websites are not very usable on the iPad. Sadly, there’s no ETA for an in-app checkout process right now, Lister tells us.
Currently Shopmox is self-funded from the sale of WedSnap, Inc. They haven’t settled on a business model, but Lister says it’s likely to be affiliate-based. But for now, the company is focused on user experience and is not monetizing.
The Shopmox app is live in iTunes here.