Packs of roving teens were once an indomitable force in malls and shopping centers across the country, but those days have come and gone. Instead, young shoppers are turning to their mobile devices for every aspect of the retail experience, from discovery through fulfillment.
The makers of Flip Fit, which launched Wednesday morning, are looking to bring back the social element that was once an integral part of the shopping experience, working with more than 100 of the top denim and T-shirt brands from AG, JBrand, Hudson and Retrobrand to Boyish, MadeWorn, Junkfood, Mavi and Edwin.
The new “social media-enhanced” marketplace, which received $3.75 million in seed funding, allows users to order and try on items at home that they’ve discovered through the app’s social feed. They can then share photos of their prospective purchases with their friends and receive feedback on whether or not they should pull the trigger on a new look.
The app personalizes product recommendations for each unique user based on their likes and interactions, along with the style profiles of friends and influencers they happen to follow. The gamified experience allows users to flip through their friends’ photos and vote on whether or not they like the outfits they’re sporting.
Participation also comes with a cash incentive, the company explained in a statement. Users receive a $10 credit toward future clothing purchases with every friend they bring onto the platform, and each yes or no vote earns them an additional $1.
“Fashion shopping has always been a social experience,” Nooruldeen Agha, co-founder and co-CEO of Flip Fit, said. “The decision for today’s shoppers to buy happens once they receive validation from friends and family, but e-commerce has made shopping very isolating. We are connecting the social behaviors of shopping, which were previously only possible offline, with a virtual experience,” she added.
Due to the nature of the at-home try-on experience, the company has had to contend with the inevitable issue of returns. In an attempt to make the process more seamless, the company includes a pre-printed UPS return label in each box, and gives users the option of scheduling pickups from their homes.
“Returns are our default,” explained Jonathan Ellman, co-founder and co-CEO of Flip Fit. “While the rest of the industry is fighting this phenomena, we are leaning into it. Almost half of all fashion shoppers bracket their online purchases, buying several pieces to try on at home with the intention of returning what doesn’t fit or what doesn’t match what they saw online,” he added.
Ellman claimed that by making the return process less labor-intensive for users, the company is ultimately keeping clothing from ending up in the garbage. According to Flip Fit, 5 billion pounds of unwanted apparel ends up in U.S. landfills each year, and half of all shoppers don’t return products because the process is too troublesome.
Though it doesn’t account for the carbon footprint associated with the shipping process, Fit Flip said that it is committed to curbing fashion waste by ensuring that all unwanted clothing makes it back to its distribution center.