Project September (PS) – a free shopping app based on user-generated content – is the latest concept on the shoppable social media scene.
Founded by Alexis Maybank, co-founder of US designer fashion brand discount e-tailer Gilt, PS plays on the legion of online product visuals generated by fashion fans, and the ongoing desire to purchase when inspiration hits (see Anywhere Retailing).
Browsing/Sharing: The platform displays an image feed pooled from users’ Instagram libraries, or new images taken in-app, dubbed ‘spreads’. Images only need to include fashion to be viable – such as an original shot, or a photo of an image from a magazine. Like Instagram, users follow other users.
Make it shoppable: Tapping on an item while uploading an image summons a search bar that allows users to seek out the product via an index stored in-app, or a Google Search function, should the item not appear. A green dot signifies the item is now shoppable – via a single tap.
Buying: Tapping a dot surfaces product information, while another click transfers users to the checkout, still in-app. Orders are fulfilled by partner brands. In return, retailers pay a commission (about 5-15%), from which PS also takes a cut.
The app launched with more than 2,000 brands including Bloomingdales, Net-A-Porter, Coach, Diesel, Nasty Gal and Fendi. It taps a growing market: 10% of internet users state a ‘buy button’ would incentivise them to purchase a product (GlobalWebIndex, 2016), with social commerce generating $30bn in 2015 (Social Media Explorer, 2015).