See a dress or jacket that you like? Upload an image of it on Goxip, and the app will find something similar from online retailers. MEK ZHIN talks to the founders at the Malaysian launch.
EVER had that moment when, browsing online, you come across a look that you want to purchase immediately?
You start an online search for the clothes, just to end up with more photos but no avenue for buying it.
When Juliette Gimenez experienced this problem, she didn’t just throw her arms up in frustration; she decided to come up with a solution.
That was how Goxip was born some one-and-a half years ago in Hong Kong, where Gimenez and co-founder Y.C. Lau are based.
Gimenez describes Goxip as a “shoppable Instagram”.
Users can upload the image of any clothes, and the app’s image recognition algorithm will find something similar from the app’s available retailers. Scroll through the choices and, if you find what you want, a click will take you to the retailer’s site.
With the app having over 30,000 international brands on board and offering some 2.5 million items, users will find themselves spoilt for choice.
Users can also upload their own looks for others to shop for it.
“The technology we are utilising isn’t exactly rocket science. In fact, it’s been around for a while,” says Gimenez who was previously in investment banking and group shopping websites.
“Putting it all together into a cohesive experience was a much bigger task than setting up image recognition,” she discloses.
“Signing merchants on took up a lot of time but once we got the first big brand on board, the rest followed quickly. We have a wide range of brands, from luxury to mass market,” she adds.
Lau, who runs Feva Works (an IT education centre) and a digital agency, says they tweaked the app a few times before launching it.
“What changed a lot was the consumer experience using the app,” explains Gimenez.
Originally, their idea centred on curating celebrity news and aggregating social media feeds with plenty of pictures that users would be able to see and click on to keep reading the gossip, hence the app’s name, or crop the picture to shop it.
The team later realised that people did not consume media in this way. Those who wanted to read would just visit their preferred websites.
“We then decided that all consumer content had to be monetised, thus the ‘shoppable Instagram’ angle,” she adds.
“We do not handle any shipping or payment,” Lau clarifies. “Think of us more as a matching partner between the user and retailers.”
The founders recently held a Malaysian launch for the app, officiated by Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak. At the event, it was announced that Goxip had raised RM6.61mil in seed funding from two investors between November last year and May this year.
“I read about Goxip and got in touch with them through a friend. After chatting with Gimenez and learning more about the business, I was convinced it was a good one. She met my dad too in September last year,” says investor Chryseis Tan, daughter of Berjaya Group founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan.
Mobile shopping is very convenient for a busy person like herself, Tan adds.
“I travel so much and work a lot to the point that I just don’t have time to go to actual stores to try on clothes. Besides, there is always the chance that the stores won’t have what I want. Online shopping, however, gives me a wide variety and all the available choices from the get-go,” she says, stressing that online retailers’ return policies are very important in enhancing a new shopper’s experience.
Tan thinks the app has a potentially big market in South-East Asia because many are moving towards e-commerce.
“I think with the amount raised this time, we can only go deep into the Malaysian and Hong Kong markets. There will be another seed fund round which, on my part, is still in the discussion stage,” says Tan, adding that for now she will concentrate on what she already has on her plate, including leading Berjaya’s Kyoto resort hotel and residences project.
“But if something else that is good comes along, why not?” she laughs.
Gimenez says they will be launching phase two of their app, which is a C2C (consumer to consumer) marketplace, next month.
“Many have asked why did we not include this from the start, but we felt that we needed to build a certain amount of credibility with our users first, as well as get them used to our app. We feel that now is the time to go ahead with phase 2, which will let anyone ‘open a shop’ with just a fingertap,” she says.
They will be expanding their current team of 13 people, mostly programme developers, to accommodate their growth in the Malaysian market as well as to handle user education.
Goxip also hopes to work with more local Malaysian designers and brands.
“Our main goal, however, is to reach one million users by the end of the year and improve the app. As of now, Goxip has been downloaded 120,000 times on both Android and iOS platforms. We have 110,000 active users and 6,000 active daily users,” Gimenez reveals.
Active users are people who log in to the app at least twice a month, daily active users are people who log in to the app at least twice a day for a minimum of 30 seconds each time.
Malaysian Android phone users are wont to log on to the app four to six times a day for between 40 seconds to a minute, while iOS users only open it twice a day but spend about six minutes each time.
Goxip earns its revenue from sales commission of between 10% and 15% for each transaction.