Feel like shopping all the time? There’s an app with at least $3.8 million in funding for that. Because all we need are more ways to shop on our phones…
Everyone knows that if you want to launch a successful product, you need to find your customer’s “pain points.”
As one marketing blog puts it, “imagine a day in the life of your customer. What problem does your product or service address? What is the true source of their pain?”
So when I received a press release for ASAP54, “the latest app innovation allowing you to shop every aspect of your surroundings – from fashion and art to food and even landscapes – instantaneously,” I knew they had found my pain point. Because as a journalist with wads of extra cash hanging out of her pockets, what is missing is the chance to make impulse purchases of products I don’t really need 24/7.
Taking photos of my co-workers’ cool (mostly geeky) items
Sarcasm aside, we decided to try out the product. I walked around the office taking photos of my fashion-forward co-workers. The app did a pretty good job. The suggestions they offered were not exact matches but they got the overall “look” right.
But when I tried the app on a non-fashion item, specifically, our office Rolling Spider mini-drone, the app failed miserably, asking me what kind of fashion accessory it was.
It actually looked more like this awesome video:
It’s easy to see where the app could be useful. Let’s say you want to complete a Halloween costume and find just the right Roman gladiator hat. Or let’s say you admire Audrey Hepburn and want to copy her style. Just plug a photo into ASAP54 and the algorithm does the rest.
ASAP54 creator Daniela Cecílio says the app, currently available for iOS, has reached over 400,000 downloads since its launch in February, with the largest number of users in the U.S., U.K. and Brazil. “I’ve created something that I felt was hugely missing from my online shopping experience,” she said in a statement.
She explained that the idea for the app came to her when she spent three hours looking for a pair of vintage Chanel frames online.
“I get inspired by Instagram, fashion blogs, [but] most of them don’t give you enough information,” Cecílio told Business of Fashion. “It was always very hard because you would Google, and Google would come up with the worst results. Nothing compared with what you were searching for.”
The app, which raised $3.8M in one round of funding in February (as reported by CrunchBase), recognizes the color, shape and texture of an item and uses image recognition technology to search its database for a match. Headed by Daniel Heescha, who co-founded another image recognition company called Pixsta and has a PhD in photo recognition and machine learning, the London-based company has also hired a team of 20 engineers.
They have partnered with over 300 brands and e-tailers, including Net-a-porter, the Outnet, Topshop, J Crew, Forever 21, Barneys and Harrods. If the algorithm fails to produce what you are looking for, you can crowdsource your search and if all else fails, a team of in-house stylists will manually search for the item and provide you with five options in 24 hours.
Too much temptation?
It sounds great, but personally, I won’t be downloading ASAP54 any time soon. The idea of one’s entire surroundings turning into a 24-hour shopping mall doesn’t sound conducive to a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
I prefer NoGo, an app that promises to improve your will power and impulse control when it comes to bad habits like smoking, overeating and yes, excessive shopping. And as for that adorable little skirt my co-worker is wearing? Maybe another time.