Business

Flit launches a speedy social shopping experience

Many social shopping sites are great at offering a slick buying experience — until you decide you want to comparison shop at another web site. The new Flit app on the iPad addresses this by turning online shopping into a more seamless and enjoyable experience.

The goal is to put the “whole world of shopping into a single app,” said Adrian Lall, Flit’s chief executive. Flit is available for free on the iPad today.

“You can flit from store to store,” he said.

With Flit, you don’t lose your search results across stores. By contrast, aggregator sites like ShopStyle and Google Products create a pool of items from product feeds or by scrapping results. What Flit does instead is take your original search term (like “purse”) and make it into a single click to move between results for relevant shops. The Flit platform provides the right range of stores for that item and then automates the process of searching in each one of those stores for you. You see the results come back to you directly, showing you the results for a “purse” search in multiple stores. If you tap on a result, it takes you into the store where the item is being sold.

The rival stores don’t mind because San Francisco-based Flit makes its money through affiliate partnerships. If you buy a purse and Flit led you to the site where you bought it, that retailer shares a cut of the revenue with Flit.

The app is aimed at women who want to save time by being able to shop across thousands of commerce sites from a tablet. The app fits more with the natural process of shopping to find the best bargain across a number of retailers who sell the same or similar items.

“Shopping for women’s clothing is very different from shopping for men’s,” said Keylee Sanders, a style expert and a paid style adviser for Flit. “What I love about the Flit app is that it uniquely meets women’s needs. Women’s purchasing is simply more complex due to the sheer range of women’s styles and trends, body types, lifestyles, and the need for a closely coordinated workable wardrobe. For that women must shop a wider range of stores and items.”

Flit makes it unnecessary to have multiple browsers open to view different options. The app’s Speed Search option lets shoppers quickly go from site to site without having to retype their product search.

If you mark an item as “cute,” then Flit will remember the item and allow you to return to a whole series of items marked “cute” when you are ready to compare them side by side. The comparison gives shoppers a chance to view the cute items side-by-side on price, details, and style. You can compare up to three items at the same time.

You can buy any item instantly within the app. And you can ask advice from friends via email, Facebook, or Pinterest.
When items go on sale, Flit can send you an alert.

Flit incorporates private sales, fashion blogs, and discovery sites like Gilt.

“We make it easy for shoppers to buy from and discover both large stores and smaller boutiques while fully retaining the retailer’s merchandising and branding,” Lall said. “We believe in the role and diversity of online shops that Flit encourages.”

Flit has raised seed money from Tandem and has five employees and two contractors.

Here’s a video where Sanders describes the app.


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