Dote: Tinder for Shopping

Dote is a mobile shopping app that incorporates a Tinder-like swipe function with a mega-catalogue of for-sale items from 50 (and counting) major clothing retailers. Users are presented with catalogue-like images of models wearing clothing from J.Crew, Anthropologie, Forever 21, and more. They swipe right or left, which builds up a personalized algorithm, further improving the experience. Users can also purchase clothing directly through the app without needing to visit the retailer’s site or unique app.

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Dote is trying to attract the growing market of women aged 18-30 who shop via mobile. Lauren Farleigh, Dote’s founder, hypothesizes that individual stores will not be successful with unique apps, and that instead we’ll see a rise in brand aggregators. She also noted that despite access to many brands, most shoppers will continue to primarily purchase from 5-6 stores that they know and trust. Thus Dote allows users to select their favorite brands and shop within those, as opposed to the vast majority of shopping apps, which focus on finding unique offerings from niche brands.

Dote is trying to position themselves as an aggregator of major brands for purchase-oriented mobile app users, or “where women shop for brands they love from their phones”. They are relying on the enjoyable swipe interface to retain customers, and the simple purchase option to convert users into customers. So far, that positioning seems to be resonating. The app has had incredible traction in the 12 weeks since it was launched. First released on the Apple App store, it was downloaded 10,000 times in the first month. With the help of influential fashion bloggers, they’ve hit 30,000 downloads. This organic growth has led to metrics like 18,000 MAU, 2-3 sessions per day per user (with views of 140-170 items), and 10-15% purchase rate. Exclusive discounts, a recommendation engine, and a future “prime” membership will help retain and attract customers, while targeted ads and discoverability of high-value shoppers create value for retailers.

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