Snapette is a mobile app which helps users discover designer inventory and discounts at the retail shops near them.

San Francisco, New York, London

Sarah Paiji, CEO

What was the hunch that got you started?
My co-founder Jinhee and I started Snapette because we wanted to build a platform on which shoppers could discover great nearby stores and products. Over 90% of retail is still done in stores yet there wasn’t an easy way for shoppers to browse what was in stores near them. There are many platforms like Pinterest and The Fancy that help shoppers discover great products you can purchase online, but we wanted to highlight great products you can purchase nearby. Similarly, there are local focused products like Yelp that works well for finding restaurants and food nearby, but we wanted to build a product especially for retail that could showcase photos of products available rather than reviews on service.

We were also big believers (and continue to be!) that mobile would completely transform retail and could be a valuable tool for retailers to drive nearby consumers into stores with real-time information on in-store products and promotions.

What have you learned? How have you failed? How have you had to pivot?
One of the things we’ve had to do is move away from user generated content. 100% of our content was initially crowdsourced: users had to take photos of items they saw in store, tag it, and add a location. Which is a lot to ask of an individual. Quality content is something that we’re really focusing on, and to get this content, we are focused on partnering directly with top fashion retailers and brands.

At this point about 60% of our content is coming directly from retailers and brands and the remaining 40% of content is user generated. We’re moving away from user generated content (UGC) because brands are the best at curating beautiful (and accurate) content,which is in the end what’s most useful to our consumers. The other side to this pivot is that UGC isn’t very scalable because it can be difficult to moderate or know which other store locations a product snapped may also be available.

What is your team like? Company Culture?

There’s nine of us at the moment, and the team skews young and very female. We’re a feisty, scrappy bunch who are always challenging assumptions and highly motivated and excited to build the next big thing in fashion retail.

We hire smart, hungry people. There aren’t people out there who have an expertise in what we want to do. Mobile app and mobile marketing experience is something that we’ve had to develop from scratch as it’s still a very new area and not something that many people yet know how to do well. We feel like pioneers who are creating and shaping a new industry around local mobile commerce that is evolving very rapidly.

The team is still small and very close, which is something that we really are relishing in at the moment, as we know that it will likely not last for long. A 9-person team can be very different from a team of 30, and definitely a company of 100+ people. Right now, lines between work life and personal life are blurred, and often have to be because we’re working longer hours. We’re close and go out together on the weekends, and we know what’s going on with each other’s boyfriends, husbands, children and personal lives generally. At our small size, it feels like an extended family which is really nice.

What is your plan for monetization?
At the moment, we are making revenue from retailers and brands on our platform. Retailers pay us a fee to feature their content in Snapette, create profiles for all of their store locations. Snapette can craft individual campaigns with them, help promote sales at certain times, or develop a push notification campaign. Our pricing structure is pretty in-line with current mobile CPA’s.

We’re also beginning to adopt an e-commerce model, where in about 2 weeks, users will be able to purchase an item that they want directly within the application and select where to ship it. Snapette is going to truly become a channel for the omni channel shopper, being able to shop both locally as well as online through the app.

What can brands learn from you?
We’re able to provide brands a real-time pulse on what types of products are trending, where and with whom. Because our app is social and our users are “loving” photos all the time, we are able to capture intent to purchase, whereas most retailers right now have data primarily on completed purchases.

As the first and largest player in local/mobile fashion, we have a lot of data around how people are using their phones in store and also how people are reacting to local deals in store. There’s also a unique perspective on how notification open rates change based on the type of messaging (new arrival, sale, alert, etc). Are people clicking to call? Clicking for directions? Or alternatively, how many people have gone into the store or taken a photo of the product in the store? These are all data points that we can capture, correlate, and optimize. While retailers very much understand the purchase funnel online, we’re optimizing the funnel for the offline shopping space.

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