May 26, 2017 | By Sarah Housley
New shopping apps have sporadically emerged over the last few years catering to the active, on-the-go and mobile-first group of millennials who spend roughly three hours per day on their mobile devices. But as reported last year, about 85% of the time consumers spend on apps is predominantly spent on just five apps, proving that getting audiences to engage with new apps is difficult and rough terrain to conquer.
For a shopping app to be deemed truly valuable (and worthy of taking up valuable space on consumers’ devices), it must possess a special element that proves particularly advantageous to the financially burgeoning group. Enter: the LUV IT fashion app
This shopping app quietly emerged in the app store last month and co-founder, Fernando Trueba (the former head of marketing at eBay) describes it as “a curated marketplace for fashion and lifestyle brands [which rewards] users for buying and recommending product.” Essentially, the secret sauce to its success is the fact that users can earn real money for simply being active on the platform- a feat that is likely to entice users to download and engage.
The idea for the app came about when a friend of Trueba’s, initially sought him out for advice around the idea of creating an online marketplace that would incorporate recommended products. What first started as a mentorship eventually evolved into a partnership between the two, and the app has since grown into a full-fledged business operation with 10 employees located in two offices- one in California and the other in Mexico.
The mobile shopping space is extremely saturated as social commerce accounts for about 5% of the projected $375 billion in the U.S. online retail market for 2016, as noted by Forrester Research. LUV.IT aims to help consumers monetize their social commerce efforts. “What we are doing differently, is we are adding incentives to people,” notes Trueba.
Users can download the app on their mobile and log in via their Instagram or Facebook accounts (the app is only available in the U.S. currently.) When browsing the platform, users are free to make purchases that lead them to earn 2.5% cash back, which is directly distributed into their PayPal or bank account. App users can also share products spotted on the platform with their personal community and if someone in their network then purchases the recommended product, they receive an additional 2.5% cash back. Essentially users are rewarded for discovering, sharing and purchasing product they love (or luv) with their community. The earned money serves as credit that can be applied to future purchases, a great incentive for encouraging repeat purchases and return users.
To help drive dialogue, the audience- which predominantly consists of fashion-focused females between the ages of 18 and 34- can engage with influencers via sponsored posts. When first signing in to the app, new members fill out a brief questionnaire which the app uses to then suggest the brands and influencers to follow that align with members’ interests. LUV.IT has already partnered with more than 80 influencers and fashion bloggers including Victoria Van Ness and Christie Ferrari.
In addition to its ability to earn users money, another alluring aspect to the app is the lack of advertising seen across the platform. Each time a transaction takes place, LUV.IT earns a small fee, which allows them to make money without the need to engage in advertising efforts that disrupt the user experience. Furthermore, there is a great return policy which enables users to freely return purchases within 14 days. If the user fails to meet this deadline, the team at LUV.IT happily steps in acting as a friendly third party. “If [it is] over 14 days, and [the users] wants to return the item, we will be the middleman between the customer and the brand, to make it right,” notes Trueba. The app has also streamlined their checkout process by integrating with the ecommerce platforms of their brand partners to create a simple and seamless checkout- an advantage considering the multi-step payment processes of some competitor apps.
The team at LUV.IT seems to understand the volatile nature of the retail-focused app world, having made a conscious effort to offer its users a unique and mutually beneficial experience. “There is a lot of competition in the space [though we] are the only one offering a true social shopping experience with rewards,” says Trueba. With no immediate expansion plans in the works, the focus for the team will be on building the app to become the premier online marketplace destination for fashion and lifestyle.
As their tagline notes: LUV.IT is the fashion app that luvs you back, and we think millennials will surely appreciate that.
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