Current buy/sell platforms do not focus on independent/emerging/sustainable designers. Instead, they focus on larger fashion companies and brands that are typically fast fashion. The independent/emerging/sustainable designers are a niche category with typically a higher retail tag but a lower mark-up or a more transparent mark-up to communicate to their customers (Ex: Everlane). Because of this, the resale value on these items, depending on the condition they are in, is still very high and a good avenue for exchanging or online resale.
How could we create a simple mobile application for users to buy and sell independent, emerging, and sustainable clothing designer pieces that they own from their closets to others?
1. Create a simple and intuitive buy and resale app for this niche market.
2. Simplify choices and options by limiting brands, listing information, categories.
While there aren’t any mobile apps or websites geared toward this niche, there are Instagram accounts that cater to them. These Instagram accounts repost items that are sent into the account owner from their followers. The posts are made with general data including: photos, item name, description, size, condition, and the seller’s asking price. Once posted by the Instagram account owner, other followers of that account can comment on the post with their information to ‘buy’ the item. The original seller of the item is then left responsible with reaching out to those that commented on their posted item and requesting payment, usually through PayPal. If the item successfully sells, then the seller would send a small payment to the owner of the Instagram account owner as a fee.
Other apps are generating sales by encouraging their users to create a following. By doing this, user’s are finding inventory to sell on the app to make money and create their own ‘store’ within the app. This would not be the approach of a user that has a minimalist approach to fashion.
These Instagram accounts are proof (with 20k - 40k in followers) that there is a strong market for resale items of this specific niche. The frustration is really on the end of the user or buyer. Within an Instagram feed, a potential buyer cannot filter through all of the listed photos to get more detailed information such as if the item has sold or not, size, price, etc. And with the Instagram account owner posting anywhere from 10 to 50 items per day, it can get pretty difficult and frustrating to scroll through that much ‘merchandise’ unless the potential buyer looks through it every single day.
Even though simplifying the app was one of the main objectives, there's still a large amount of work that needs to go into the general setup to allow the user to:
2. Sell (and allow to upload photos from local computer/phone)
3. Filter to their needs
A great user experience allows the user to seamlessly maneuver through those obligatory 'create an account' screens. And creating and then building those screens took more time and thought then I had projected.
The filtering options are an area I want to explore and test more in-depth for version 2.
More information on the coded version using ReactJS and Bootstrap are available here on my Github.