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This year, one of the most promising startups to come out of Lightbank (the firm behind Belly, Groupon, Echo etc...) is taking hold of the fashion and retail space (bricks and clicks) and laying the groundwork for local online shopping in the future. Only launched this fall, walk.by has signed up dozens of merchants like newcomer, Milk Handmade, gothic legend The Alley, Wicker Park sweetheart Tangerine, Midwestern trend goliath Akira and vintage haven Caza who are already posting items to the shop.walk.by marketplace.
[Racked 38 Member, Roslyn, one of the walk.by boutiques]
Here, the merchants, steeped in hyperlocal business practices are marketing to consumers citywide and beyond through the app, blast marketing and window shopping traffic. Benefits for the shopper include access to exclusive sales through the app, a feedback feature called "WANT!" where you can tell merchants what you're looking for, and get it or get ideas for something similar. Additionally, you can get push notifications to stay up to date on the latest inventory from merchants (follow them like Instagram) and best of all, buy products instantly through the app.
As Hallie Borden from Milk Handmade explains, she couldn't be happier with the app because she only has to pay a fee if someone buys something, otherwise it's totally free for the merchant to use. It's easy to display items in the window for people to window shop after business hours and still be able to make a purchase with the app. In most cases shipping is free for the customer; sales tax is still a bitch at 9.5% but for the merchant, it's still worth the nominal commission walk.by takes from the sale.
Think about keeping a seasonal inventory (fashion retail) up to date on a ecommerce-enabled website if you're a small business, a vintage shop or a store that only orders one or two of each item--it's got to be difficult to maintain. Well, shoppers seeking the latest merchandise from small boutiques and the boutiques looking to sell it to them now have an easier way: walk.by.
· walk.by [Official Site]
· Lightbank [Official Site]