As silly as it sounds, shopping can be difficult. Especially online shopping. While it’s amazing to be able to purchase literally everything without having to leave the comfort of your bed (everyone hates moving!), combing through all of the stuff available is time consuming at best and horribly frustrating at worst. Hence, Shopfeed. The app thats one true goal is to completely and utterly streamline online shopping by assembling articles from all your favorite style blogs, tech sites, and features publications into one well designed place. From that point on, all you have to do is click a button to buy what’s mentioned in the article. In honor of Shopfeed’s official East Coast launch, we chatted with co-founder and Editor in Chief Alice Berman about the Shopfeed team’s influences, future goals, and lessons learned.
How did this all begin?
It all started because me and two other co-founders basically wanted a simpler way to shop on the go. I wanted to be able to shop while I was waiting in line for my coffee, or waiting to pick up my dry cleaning, the same way I check my Instagram or the way I get my news on Twitter and all of that. We started thinking and talking about how you could make that a reality and it sort of grew from the idea that when I’m waiting, or when I’m bored and I have time, or even when I wake up in the morning, I’m checking all of these different things like Twitter and Instagram, and Facebook. I’m getting my news and I’m reading an Elle article, or I’m reading NY Mag, and we wanted to bring that content aspect into shopping and make it mobile.
So that’s sort of how we came up with the idea, for me, I love to shop using hashtags. It’s also great to have the various publishers who we pull articles from because I can see the “Seven Bathing Suits for Spring” from Vogue, and I’m like “Yes, I want to know that!”
We just kind of wanted everything to be in one place and to have it be really user friendly and hopefully that’s what we’ve done.
I’ve been using it for the last couple days and it’s definitely a time waster. You can spend far more time than you thought you were going to playing around with it.
Absolutely, it totally is.
We have a new version coming out in a couple of weeks that and it has one-click buy, so you can literally but something in one click, and it has a new color scheme. We have a lot of male users, 45% of our users are male, and they’re big thing is that they’re embarrassed to be on an all pink app, so you can choose now if you want black and white or if you want pink. We have a lot of good changes coming that way so it makes it even more addictive. I’m so afraid with the one-click buying that I will have no money left in my bank account.
Yeah, that sounds dangerous. Speaking of the design, where did the ice cream logo come from?
Originally our name was Shopsicle, like a popsicle. We played with a popsicle for a while, but ended up changing our name to Shopfeed, both because we had some legal issues with a store called Shopsicle, and because we wanted the name to be a little more explanatory about what it is, and it really is a live constantly updating feed of shopping. We just stuck with the ice cream cone because that was what the popsicle had originally been. We just liked it because it was sweet and girly and cute and we thought it was fun.
A lot of the articles about Shopfeed refer to it as the “Buzzfeed of shopping” do you think that’s a good description for the app?
I think that’s a good description for what the app does. I’m the youngest member of the team and I think I’m more into those sort of things. I do all my shopping on mobile. I do all my reading on my phone. I am that way and I think pretty much everyone else in their early 20’s is the same. So, I actually never go on Buzzfeed because that would involve me using a web browser on my computer, so I actually think of us as the Instagram of shopping, in my mind, because there’s a very big graphic image and it’s something you can constantly be scrolling through. I do think the listicle element of Shopfeed is very Buzzfeed-esque and I love that. I love that analogy. I think it’s amazing.
Just to backtrack a little bit, were you surprised by the amount of men who use Shopfeed?
We’ve been really really surprised, but I think what makes sense about it (even though it’s a really girly app) is that guys hate to shop and I think they prefer to be told… not what they should be buying, but to have some kind of advice on what they should be buying.
I think we put up an article yesterday from, I think it was Mr. Porter, and it was “How to Wear Jeans to Work”. I feel Like most of the guys I know would be like “How great! I do need to know how to wear jeans to work!” then they go on and click through. I think, for them, it’s been a way of simplifying their shopping and making things a lot easier. They don’t have to send a link to their mom, or their girlfriend or their sister, and ask “Is this okay?”
Do you think this is something older folks will latch onto to figure out what their kids want for Christmas, or something like that?
Definitely. My mom, and one of the other co-founders moms, use it all the time. I’m always like “Oh! Where did you get that?” and they’re like, “Shopfeed.”
I think it’s great for that. Also we have the Wishlist. Everything that you heart or like or double tap goes into a list that’s specific to you and you can then email or text or Facebook message that list to anyone you want. At Christmas, I just sent my Wishlist to my family and basically everything I got was off of my Wishlist. I think that’s really useful for an older crowd and it kind of appeals to a lot of different people and different demographics.
In my opinion the best part about Shopfeed is that you pick who you follow. When I look at my dad on Shopfeed it’s completely different from mine. There are articles I have never seen before. I don’t follow NPR or Vulture or NY Mag. I only follow The Cut, or whatever. I think that aspect of it is really special. That’s something I love about it.
What are Shopfeed’s long-term goals? How do you see the app changing?
I think long term we’d like to become the go-to mobile shopping solution.
We’re building our website right now, which is great. A lot of people have asked us “How can I do the same thing I do on my phone, online?” And that’s why we decided to do that. It will be great to have an actual website that is really useable. We have one now, but it’s not super user friendly. That’s a big goal. I think just getting this next version of the app done and promoting it everywhere, and helping people make it their go to for shopping.
Maybe I’m the only person who’s like this, this is totally embarrassing to admit , but when I wake up in the morning the first thing I check is my Instagram, and Twitter, and Facebook, my texts, and my Shopfeed. I want to see the same thing for everyone else. I want them to open up their instagram and scroll through and then be like “Oh!” and open their Shopfeed and scrowwl through and then be like “Okay, I’m done with that.” On to Twitter.
So, do you see yourself implementing more social media aspects?
Yeah, definitely. I think in the future that’s something we definitely want to explore and see how we can work with different social media outlets to get to that place.
Shopfeed has a charity of the month users can donate to. How did the charity and social responsibility aspect come to play a role in the app?
We were all pretty devoted to different causes that were close to our hearts. I use Venmo a lot and I found the little thing they have when you’re transferring money where they’re like, “ Do you want to give five dollars to St. Judes?” or whatever the charity might be. We really liked that idea. That’s something that Antonia Thorber, our CEO, was very devoted to. It was kind of the idea that, you’re spending money anyway. Why not give back while you are?
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
I think the biggest lesson we learned so far is how helpful user feedback is. Truly, everytime I meet someone, whether they’ve downloaded Shopfeed organically or through knowing us, I’m always asking them, “What do you think of this?” or “What do you think of that?”
We’re working from my house in D.C. today because we have our launch party tomorrow and we were trying to figure out something with the design and we turned to my mom and we said “If you were using this, what would you think of this?”
It’s been really helpful just to see what people have to say about it because there are things I would never think are important that people point out. Like every single guy who downloads it is like, “I love it, but I hate to be on a pink thing.” We just assumed guys would never use the app. The fact that men are using it and into the men’s stuff, we need to make that change so it’s more useable for you. So that’s been a really big lesson and it’s so beyond helpful.
If you had to go back and start from the beginning would you change anything? Or has it all been smooth sailing?
It’s been fairly smooth sailing. I wouldn’t change anything because I think we learned so much and we grew so much as a team together. We really have all come to so love Shopfeed and really believe in it.