A year and a half after launch, Trendabl — the Instagram-like social platform strictly for fashion photos — has introduced e-commerce to its offerings. It’s a natural next step for a service that already lets users, brands, and magazines upload photos and tag the items pictured.
Until this point, Trendabl has focused on building up its user community and signing well-known brands like Michael Kors, Barneys, and Diane Von Furstenberg. It’s launching ecommerce with about 15 smaller retailers, including Singer22, Reece Hudson, Young and Reckless, and Anita Ko. The application process is now open to all brands and retailers in the U.S., and Trendabl has been at work approving those.
Not every photograph in a user’s feed is shoppable, and those that are have an additional “Buy” button. The app now has an additional curated shop feed for those who don’t want to sift through shoppable and non-shoppable items to find their next buy. But the goal down the line is to make every single post shoppable, said Trendabl founder Jon Alagem.
Since linking out to a retailer often means that the product might not exist any longer or the affiliate site isn’t mobile optimized, Trendabl opted to own the transaction. It takes the friction out of shopping across multiple merchants, especially on mobile. Consumers put a credit card on file, add items to their basket, and hit ‘Buy.’
If you’re a compulsive shopper, it’s kind of a slippery slope.
Trendabl has integrated with retailers’ backends in order to keep stocking information up to date, and when an order is placed the merchant receives an email with the invoice and shipping label. Currently the retailers use their own boxes for shipping, but Alagem said that down the line the goal is to give them Trendabl-branded shipping.
Returns are processed through Trendabl, which sends the consumer a label to send their product back to the merchant, the idea being that Trendabl handles all interactions with the merchant on behalf of the consumer. If that sounds a little micro-managerial, it is. As a startup handling commerce for the first time, they’re focused on quality control.
Trendabl is ready to sync with retailers using Shopify, and they’re building integration systems for Magento and other popular ecommerce platforms. The team is also looking to nail down larger retailers that ship out of multiple locations.
Most of the work is automated, which is good for the five person team. (Their next funding round will in part go toward hiring a bigger team.)
With the launch of commerce, the startup is also opening a week-long pop-up shop attached to the Paramount Hotel in Times Square. There’s only one copy of each item in the store, and they’re tagged with a QR code so that shoppers can scan the piece and buy through the Trendabl app. It’s a nice store, the area gets a lot of foot traffic, and QR codes are an interest-piquing novelty, especially for those who are already in Times Square to sightsee. In sum, the pop-up should do a good job getting Trendabl’s new ecommerce angle out there.
“Our goal is that we really want to merge social and commerce,” Alagem said. “We want every brand and retailer to sell on Trendabl, because it’s a true platform, it’s something that can work all around the world.”
[Image from Trendabl]