BANGKOK (Reuters) - Women on the hunt for a killer pair of heels or new handbag have endless options when shopping online.
But Snapette, a new photo-sharing app for the iPhone, is now making it possible to browse the inventory of local boutiques for the latest fashion, bringing "window shopping to your phone" according to its creators.
"If I'm looking for red heels to wear out this weekend -- and looking within a 10 meter (yard) radius because I want to go out and buy them -- there's no way to search for that," said Sarah Paiji, CEO and co-founder of Snapette.
The app, which focuses primarily on shoes and handbags, lets users browse, search and comment on items available at boutiques in their area that have been uploaded by other users.
Tapping on an item of interest, a pair of Yves Saint Laurent platforms or a Balenciaga bag for instance, reveals information such as price, store directions and comments from other users.
The app also includes a What's Hot section, listing the items that are currently receiving the most attention worldwide.
At the top of the list right now is a pair of animal print peep-toe pumps by Dolce & Gabbana found by a user in Tokyo, Japan. But more affordable items have also risen to the top, such as a colorful tribal-patterned shoulder bag found at retailer Forever 21 in London, England.
Although mainstream stores have proven to be popular on the app, Paiji said that the company's longterm strategy lies in helping users discover items at smaller boutiques which often struggle to generate traffic to their websites.
The featured section of the app provides a platform for these boutiques and consignment shops to display their inventory, and also send notifications to users in the area when they're having an event -- an end-of summer sale, for example.
Because the app was just released last month, there are still some aspects that need to be ironed out, including how to keep items current and improve the ability to search through the database of items. The app could also benefit from more user-generated content.
Snapette consists of an all-female team, which Paiji says is rare even for a fashion-based app, and is especially important considering their female demographic, and the differences in the ways men and women shop.
"Men go to the mall and think 'I need black pants,'" said Paiji, pointing out that women on the other hand tend to prefer the discovery aspect of browsing through the shops.
"Men might think - how can we make more efficient - how can we introduce filters and search to help you hone in on what you want," she said."
"But sometimes you just want to lean back and see a bunch of pretty things and see what strikes your fancy."
Snapette is available on the App store.