Yesterday’s launch of Spring, a fashion-focused mobile shopping app, is a testament that the mobile commerce space is growing. House Account, a mobile shopping app that launched a year and a half ago, focuses on boutiques instead of brands to help them compete in the e-commerce space.
Travis Parsons, co-founder of House Account, says independent boutiques’ core business comes from connecting with customers, not through creating e-commerce websites for their brick and mortar stores. House Account is a location-based iOS app that allows these boutiques to extend their service via messaging.
Users can chat with sales people to know more about products and request it to be held until you can pick it up.
Parsons says this service allows independent boutiques to compete against e-commerce services. The partnered boutiques have had more than 2,000 in-app messaging inquiries per month.
House Account, which has about 30,000 shopper members and more than 450 partnered boutiques, only features products for women from high-end boutiques such as Bird and Fivestory at the moment, but the company plans to include items for men in the future. On average, about 25 boutiques join the service per month.
The mobile e-commerce service is free for shoppers, but boutique clients pay a monthly subscription fee. While House Account has no plans to bring its service to Android, they are looking to bring it to the web.
The company’s direct competitor is Farfetch, an online marketplace for designer boutiques that launched in 2008 and operates on an international scale. Farfetch unites independent boutiques internationally through one website, and when an item is ordered through the site, it is delivered from the boutique to the consumer.
House Account relies on providing the same service you would receive from entering a high-end boutique, focusing on communication between the shopper and the salesperson. Once you like an item, you can request it to be held for you until you pick it up or you can choose to get the item shipped to your home.
One way House Account is trying to compete with Farfetch is by rolling out a new feature this month that lets users store a credit card and purchase items through the app, which was developed by Cloud Castle Group, with select boutiques.