How many pairs of shoes do you have? How many t-shirts? How about pairs of jeans? Now get up and count them. You’ll probably be surprised by how underestimated your guesses were.
Reports say that the apparel and footwear industries generate over 8% of global pollution impacts. The total greenhouse gas emission produced by these two sectors reaches 1.2 billion tons every year. What do these numbers mean in practice? Fast fashion is killing the only planet we have.
To fight that, we’ve developed a solution that helps mainstream users stay trendy and protect the Earth. That’s a mobile app for selling and buying pre-owned clothes called LESS_.
A young founder approached us with innumerable ideas for revamping a mobile app known as CountMe - his passion project. He dreamt up an app that would help people get shopping under control. However, the first version of his app - CountMe, had a very broad scope and focused around showcasing all goods we proudly possess, rather than keeping one’s shopping under control. In order to set a clear purpose of the app, narrow down the scope and develop a new, competitive solution, the founder needed an experienced and reliable creative and technology partner. Having secured financial backing of an angel investor after a successful pitch, he turned to us.
As part of the discovery phase, we identified business goals, delineated primary functionalities, and brainstormed relevant tech solutions. The result? A viable plan for building an app with the potential to revolutionize the Polish second-hand apparel market.
Customer research brought us to the following conclusions: Fashion choices of today’s consumers are well-thought-out and purposeful. We know that it’s the quality not quantity that matters, which causes us to buy apparel made of more expensive yet longer-lasting materials. For that reason, they give up on binge shopping in chain stores. In the words of Vivienne Westwood, we now buy Less, choose well, and make it last.
When Apptension became involved in the project, the app, which primarily served to showcase all goods we proudly possess, did a 180-degree turn. CountMe was transformed into LESS_
The new name speaks for itself: the app has become a tool for change towards less stuff and less waste. It allows users to keep upgrading their style while simultaneously supporting sustainable lifestyle and reducing textile waste. As compared to CountMe, it puts greater emphasis on responsible shopping and eco-friendliness. Awareness, style, thrift - in terms of brand philosophy, there’s nothing more an informed user could ask for.
Posting items for sell - Seller has to take quality pictures of clothes or accessories to whom they wish to give a new life and choose a type of offer auction or buy now
In-app transactions – Once a buyer expresses interest in purchasing a given item, the two get in touch to discuss payment and shipping method.
Community engagement and showcasing one’s fashion sense –
Users can add photographs of their new outfits together with information about the products’ brand and price to a virtual closet. Every new addition can be liked and commented by the original poster’s followers.
When designing backend we had a few key objectives, mainly: efficiently handling a complex business logic & preparing for traffic peaks induced by influencer marketing campaigns. Bearing those in mind, we created a following tech stack: Python, Django, Celery, RabbitMQ, Google Cloud Storage, Kubernetes, Firebase and Auth0.
Since LESS_ was supposed to run on both Android and iOS, we choose the money and time-saving path of React Native. Full tech stack used for that purpose included React Native, Firebase, and Visual Studio App Center.
Being a resale tool, LESS_ has two target audiences: buyers and sellers. We defined the former as the young fashion freaks and bargain hunters, and the latter as fashionistas and influencers who seek to breathe fresh air into their closet while inspiring their followers to support sustainable fashion.
To engage our target group before the app has even been launched, we’ve created a teaser campaign. It all started with a group of influencers who support the philosophy behind. To awaken their followers’ interest, celebrities posted pictures of themselves holding mysterious numbers. The question was, what do these numbers mean?
Commenters’ guesses ranged from the number of relationships to the amount of money they make on Instagram. The truth was revealed a couple days later: the numbers stood for the pieces of clothing which influencers own but do not wear.
Backed up by the engaging introductory campaign, LESS_ quickly became a notable success. Within only 3 days from the release date, the app was downloaded 14k times and secured the 1st place in App Store Shopping Apps ranking. In the subsequent months the user base has grown up to 350 thousand users, LESS_ became one of the Top 3 shopping apps in Poland, it got nominated for Mobile Trends 2020 Awards and secured a second round of investment.
Being a fully-fledged tech partner and business consultant to the client, we remain involved in the project. We’re researching users’ needs, implementing new solutions, and making sure the brand communication in heading the right direction. As we’re writing this case study, the Polish LESS_ community is steadily growing. Next stop? Europe, and then the whole world!