With consumers continuing to be inundated by daily deals and email marketing campaigns from retailers, Trunqshow wants to cut its users some slack by allowing them to build a real-time product catalogue that notifies them when items they like go on sale. The latest version of the startup’s iPad app launched a little over a week ago, giving its users the ability to select the fashion brands and retail stores they shop at, the likes of which include J. Crew, Zara, and Polo, in addition to product categories that interest them, to build a feed of discounts and promotions.
Founder Mick Malisic originally saw the potential around the time Groupon was at its peak, realizing that at some point or another, people would simply become desensitized to the “push” approach of continuously receiving deal notifications. “I think the annoyances became clear to me, which was this idea that deals were going to be pushed to you every day based on your location,” said Malisic in an interview. “The twist on it was, what if I could pick things from different merchants and know when they go on sale.”
Starting off by building an iteration where users would first browse different ecommerce websites, select the products that interest them, and then receive notifications when they went on sale, the feedback he got was that users didn’t want to put in so much work. The company then experimented by pushing out an iPhone app under different branding that allowed users to select the brands and categories they were interested in and build a feed that outlined their sales and promotions. After seeing a marked difference in terms of engagement, the same functionality was built into the Trunqshow iPad app.
Originally starting with over 60 retail partners, the company has chipped away at the list to focus on 20 or so brands for the time being to carve out a niche for itself instead of providing deals from big box retailers like Target and Best Buy. Using the app, shoppers simply check off which brands and retailers are of interest to them and then go on to pick various fashion categories they want to kept updated on, including accessories, shoes, and coats, which populates their own deals catalogue. Currently when users click on a deal, they are redirected to the retailer’s site to pay, although Malisic said the startup is working on creating an in-app purchasing experience.
Rather than taking a percentage cut of each transaction, Trunqshow instead aims to provide actionable data and analytics to its brand partners as its primary source of revenue. Another startup that looks to provide users with only deals that match with their interest in individual products is Hukkster, which allows users to shop online as usual and “hukk” a product by saving it to a list and receive updates on when it goes on sale in an effort to again clear their inbox.
Other activity in the iPad shopping and ecommerce deals space that we’ve covered recently at BetaKit include Pickie partnering with One Kings Lane to populate its personalized shopping platform with the flash sales giant’s wares, in addition to platforms like Sift that turn a user’s inbox into a shopping catalogue. There’s also Slice, which alerts users of price drops in items of interest while also providing them other shopping management solutions.
Malisic pointed out that they had taken an approach similar to Hukkster but found relatively low engagement levels among early adopters. Its next focus will be adding more merchants to its curated list while looking at user feedback to further enhance the Trunqshow experience. Whether it has found the right balance between creating a personalized feed without asking the user to do too much up front legwork will be a determinant in whether the startup will stick around in the long run.