Flip Fit, a digital platform aimed at combining shopping with social media, launched on Wednesday with $3.75 million in seed funding, per a press release emailed to Retail Dive.
Users receive clothing based on their "preferences, likes and interactions." The platform is working with more than 100 clothing brands, including AG, Hudson, MadeWorn and JBrand, per the press release.
Users can browse images of what other users are trying on through the app and share their new outfits with friends, which will ultimately help the company learn user style preferences, the company said. The app also aims to make the returns process simple by including a pre-printed return label and allowing customers to choose when UPS comes to pick up the merchandise from them, the press release noted.
The company suggests that one of its main goals is to solve a cumbersome challenge for retailers: returns. Previous research has found that retailers have a long way to go before the returns process is seamless for shoppers, but nailing it could mean the difference in enticing or turning off potential customers.
The Oracle Global Customer Experience Trends report found that 57% of shoppers think returns are a "complete hassle" and could be simplified. However, consumers felt traditional stores had the easiest return processes, slightly above their perception of online retailers' return process. Meanwhile, a Voxware survey found that 95% of shoppers say the ease of a retailer's return process will influence whether they'll purchase goods from that retailer in the future.
"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," Jonathan Ellman, co-founder and co-CEO of Flip, said in a statement. "We believe returns should be as easy as the purchase and by making the shopping process more efficient and effective, we're keeping clothes out of landfills and in your closet."
Beyond attempting to solve a headache for retailers and consumers, the app is yet another bridge between consumers' online social lives and retailers who want to mine them for data and drive sales, but it's not the first to try this.
While Salesfloor launched SocialShop, which lets users buy the clothes they see on Instagram, Pinterest introduced a Shop the Look feature that enables users to find and purchase the goods they spot in pinned images.
But as the other major social media platforms add on features to guide shoppers to the retailers selling the outfits they desire, it appears that the Flip Fit app sets out to facilitate fashion conversations beyond likes, comments and saved posts.
"We are connecting the social behaviors of shopping, which were previously only possible offline, with a virtual experience," Agha said in a statement. "Flip is embracing the physiological aspect of decision-making with a technology that is unprecedented in this space."