What are today’s mobile shopping applications missing? You know, the social and collaborative e-commerce services, like Wanelo or Polyvore, for example? Better search? Streamlined checkout? No? How about a giant, animated video of a woman stretching, yawning and smiling at you when you first launch the app? Yes? Well, good news — U.K.-based Wanelo competitor Nuji‘s new mobile shopping app has you covered.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m looking for a new pair of shoes or a lovely scented candle, I’m definitely wishing that my app would “wake up” for me with a video of a grinning model who yawns and blinks in a style reminiscent of those creepy virtual companions so popular in Japan that they evoked parodies like “Watching Cute Girl.” (That’s the app where a young woman simply stares out at you from the screen, occasionally uttering words of encouragement.)
“It’s supposed to be just a bit of light-hearted fun to make the whole thing a little bit more interactive and less serious like most fashion apps,” explains Nuji co-founder Dean Fankhauser as to why his app has implemented a virtual companion-like interface.
Maybe he just watched “Her” too many times?
“It’s super easy to switch off in settings if you just want a normal image,” Fankhauser adds.
Nuji is yet another take on the social shopping experience, with an online platform where users can shop their favorite brands like Nasty Gal, Farfetch, The Outnet, ASOS, Net-A-Porter and others, as well as smaller boutiques. The company was first launched in 2011 and was recently seed funded by largely London-based investors to the tune of $2 million, with plans to introduce a mobile experience.
The app, like the website, includes women’s and men’s fashion, plus “lifestyle” items in categories like “home,” “media” and “electronics.”
On mobile, Nuji lets you shop items and uses Tinder-like gestures to save items (swipe right) or share items (swipe left). You can also find and follow other users with similar tastes to broaden your experience.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with the majority of Nuji’s mobile app, though in the light of a host of competitors many with significantly stronger traction, it feels a little redundant to offer something that, at the end of the day, is just another way to socially shop.
Maybe that’s why they resorted to this kind of weird trick to bring attention to the Nuji mobile launch, in the form of an “interactive” woman the company cleverly describes as an “it:”
“It’s a little different in that it comes to life. When you wake up, it yawns, when you blow into the microphone, her hair blows back.
Just to be clear, when we’re talking about “it” here, you mean the app and not the woman, right?