SuitApp puts a personal stylist in your pocket: Page 3 of 3
By Anushia Kandasivam February 15, 2017
In terms of business growth, the plan is to scale to all of Southeast Asia. Currently, SuitApp targets only Malaysian users, though there is a small amount of organic users – about 6% or 7% - from Singapore and the US.
The founders claim that SuitApp does not have direct competition as similar apps such as Shoppr or Ombre.me do not have a virtual fitting room or provide users with avatars. Further, the gamification of the app through the avatar, fitting room and other customisable features – users can and do browse and play around with it even when they do not intend to do any online shopping – means that user experience is more fun, leading to return usage.
SuitApp now has about 5,000 users and aims to have 100,000 active users each month by the end of the year, 70% of which will be through organic traffic. Interestingly, about 40% of SuitApp users are male.
SuitApp uses Facebook targeting and Instagram to get more users; Grebenshchikova says that clever use of hashtags on the latter platform has garnered quite a lot of organic traffic.
“We don’t have much money to spend on marketing but almost 40% of our users are organic – they found us through word-of-mouth,” says Chuiko.
SuitApp went through a pre-seed funding round last year, raising US$100,000 through two angel investors in Russia, and is now considering all options for the next round of funding as expanding internationally will require a big budget.
According to her, scaling to another country will not be too difficult because SuitApps technologies can be easily grown. However, the founders are opting to take things step-by-step because each market within SEA is different.
“You really need to understand the culture of each country and their fashion needs. We can sit in Russia and Google a country but actually being in the country is a very different experience,” says Chuiko.
“You have to be in the country to do this, especially right now when we are in our early stages. Perhaps later when we are bigger we can do a lot of things remotely and have a few people on site in the different countries,” says Grebenshchikova, adding that expanding to other countries will also mean getting more e-commerce partners that provide local content.
The founders lived in Malaysia for half a year before launching the app, conducting research and taking part in an accelerator programme run by the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC).
The very first version of SuitApp was released in Malaysia while they were still in the programme; the feedback from initial users was generally positive, showing that the app could work in this market. Within a few weeks, the app was improved and updated.
In fact, while in the accelerator programme, the founders were mentored by Lazada Malaysia CEO Hans-Peter Ressel, who believed in the idea enough to agree to partner Lazada with SuitApp.
The founders did not share details on revenue numbers but did reveal that revenue is generated through commission on sales via the app as SuitApp provides its e-commerce partners with qualified leads and drive traffic to their sites.
Grebenshchikova reveals that SuitApp is considering some B2B options where its technologies are integrated into other businesses by adding a styling plugin on retailers’ websites, for example, to increase their cart size. It will also add in-app purchase options to further monetise the app.
The founders make is clear that SuitApp will be continuously improving – the team takes advantage of user feedback and reviews as well as external reviews from paid users. “Feedback can be unpredictable and we get interesting reactions. Sometimes what we think is the best feature in the app is the one reviewers use or like the least,” says Chuiko.
“But feedback is important because we want our app to really be useful to our users as well as fun to use, and help them understand and give them access to fashion,” she says.
SuitApp is currently available on the Apple iStore and the founders say it will be out on Android after the startup secures its next round of investment, probably by the end of this year.