ShopRunner, a subscription-based e-commerce network backed by Alibaba with “millions of existing members” and 140 retail partners, is releasing District — its newest mobile shopping app with sights set on connecting mid- to high-end brands with greater checkout and shopping efficiencies.
Securing a $40 million investment from August Capital in October, ShopRunner’s release of the District mobile shopping app is with intention for customers to “shop all [partner] retailers in one place.”
Today, the question for many retailers is how to soften Amazon’s grin — or their stronghold on consumers, garnered by efficiencies in one-click checkouts, painless login and free two-day shipping. As chief executive officer of ShopRunner, Sam Yagan, stated to WWD, the answer lies in matching this consumer expectation by providing free two-day shipping, free returns, frictionless checkout and consolidating 1,000 brands in one location on District.
On how District is differentiated as a multibrand fashion app; “we get to start with eight years of data,” said Yagan, who comes with 13 years of experience in pioneering online dating platforms. Bridging the resemblance between human and stockkeeping units, Yagan believes it’s a personality match, and “expression of who you are,” be it person or product.
But to set the record straight — ShopRunner isn’t competing with Amazon in its District app. Instead, they are targeting a “fashion-forward” shopper who values convenience and the pleasures of a seamless mobile shopping experience. This convenience just so happens to mimic a “Prime-like experience” but the differentiating factor is one of consumer “wants versus needs.”
Anyone can find what they need on Amazon, no matter the obscurity, but luxury shopping is long denoted by a certain brand experience.
Driven by pure desire, the District user can discover hand-picked and regionally defined “trending items,” while shopping her favorite designers and brands in one location and with one checkout.
While “Amazon-like” efficiencies in customer experience anchor the mission, the data overlying this framework is what empowers District.
Historical data “collected from more than 1 billion shopping sessions” bolster the app’s framework to create one unique, individualized “district” similar to visiting New York’s SoHo shopping district or Los Angeles’ El Rodeo Drive, as Yagan envisions.
Frequenting branded apps from retailers such as Kate Spade or Cole Haan and more, the difference is providing one cart, backed with customer data for a personalized mobile shopping experience, without sacrificing efficiencies.
Speaking of the role District hopes to play for fashion brands, Yagan reiterated, “our retailers aren’t tech companies,” with many finding their branded platforms underutilized in driving customer purchases.
As for the ongoing mission of the District app, the aim is to “drive great customer experiences” while growing the business for those retailers already utilizing the platform — and overall conquering real estate in the m-commerce space.