Tophatter, a flash sales site that sells apparel, makeup and electronics through 90-second auctions, released its Android app today and announced its first international expansion. The app is now available in Canada and plans to go into the UK and Ireland within the next few weeks. South Africa, Australia and New Zealand are the next markets in the startup’s sights.
Created by the team behind Blippy, a now-defunct platform that let people show off their purchases, Palo Alto, Ca.-based Tophatter went live six months ago and currently has about 1.5 million users. The company says that since the launch of its iOS app in April, its sales have increased from $200,000 per month to more than $3 million per month. It expects to hit $6 million in sales by next summer, fueled by its new Android app.
Tophatter says its sellers focus on “artisan and handmade goods,” as well as brands like Coach, Betsey Johnson, Estee Lauder, Urban Decay, Clinique, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Beats by Dre, Kindle and iPhone. It competes with other flash sales apps such as Rue La La, Gilt and Haute Look. As shoppers look for the retail apps that will offer them the most convenient shopping experience and best prices during the holiday shopping rush, Tophatter will also have to compete with e-commerce companies such as eBay and Amazon.com.
Spokesman Andrew Still-Baxter says that Tophatter differentiates by acting as a more interactive alternative to its competitors. Steps the company taken to ensure that users are engaged is controlling supply and demand so that each auction “room” on the app is always filled with people.
“You can buy ‘stuff’ anywhere, but people turn to Tophatter for a fun and social experience. The result is that Tophatter’s users treat the app more like a game, or a social network, than a commerce site,” he says. “The metrics show them hanging out, checking in frequently, and communicating with other users.”