E-fashionistas rejoice! A San Francisco startup is not only scouring the coolest clothing boutiques to let you virtually browse their entire inventories online, it just launched a same-day delivery service.
That’s the holy grail of ecommerce and an even holier, grailier problem for clothing retailers because clothes shopping is such a hands-on experience. People don’t want to wait to get their new duds.
Boutiika, which launched its shopping site in late 2011, sells clothes from 300 boutiques to date in a handful of cities like San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Austin. The same-day delivery service launched this week in only one, San Francisco. It will roll out this summer in more places like New York, L.A. Chicago, founder and CEO Ruchika Kumar told us.
Boutiika is cool for a couple of other reasons, too. It isn’t actually an online retailer. It’s really a visual search engine. Think of it like Zillow, but for clothes instead of homes.
Boutiques put their entire inventory into the search engine and shoppers can browse across stores by any criteria. Type in gold dress, for instance, and you’ll see all the gold dresses in all the shops in your city. You can ask a retailer to hold one for you so you can drive over and try it on.
While other fashion startups are fighting over “the 10% of shopping” done online, “we’re working on the 90% of commerce still happening in stores. We are bringing people into the brick-and-mortar store instead of taking them away,” Kumar told us.
Anyone in any city can browse the Boutiika website, but, like other fashion sites these days, it makes you fork over your email address or links to your Facebook account before you can even look around. And it seems to prefer your Facebook account because it ultimately wouldn’t let us sign up with email.
That said, Boutiika is a great concept and we hope it flourishes.
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