FASHION E-COMMERCE INSIGHTS: PR-A-PO
Built on the increasingly popular trend of mobile commerce, PR-A-PO introduces a new mobile-shopping experience aiming to facilitate the process of buying and selling on mobile devices for brand vendors and customers. From Hilary MacMillan, Narces, Free People and Equipment to Liza Veta and Sarah Bond, PR-A-PO carries a unique mix of worldwide established labels along with talented up-and-coming designers. The Toronto-based app, which is also extended to an e-commerce website, has quickly gained recognition and was featured as “Best New App for both iPhones and iPads” on the U.S. App Store last February. We caught up with founder Alexis B. Xi to discuss setting up PR-A-PO, attracting consumers and working on their future plans.
Tell us about your background and how PR-A-PO came about.
I’m a mathematician by training and have worked in finance and journalism in a few countries. PR-A-PO came from a personal pain point of mine when I was abroad. It was one of the original fashion social network apps, and slowly, we iterated it to what it is today: a shopping platform for great designers around the world.
Why did you decide to offer a mix emerging and established designers’ collections? Is ultimately the one aiding the other sell?
We thought that the distinction was artificial. Great designs are great no matter who came up with them. So, we simply wanted to offer a great selection to our customers.
PR-A-PO focuses on mobile shopping and consumers. What are some challenges of this decision?
In most countries, mobile is still a small percentage of fashion retail sales. I think customers are slowly getting used to buying apparel and accessories on their phones, but it takes time to get there, and we are seeing an increase in mobile sales year over year; so, mobile is indeed becoming more important.
Were you a team from the beginning? Could you please discuss the roles each one has undertaken?
I was a founder along with my technical co-founder. It was just the two of us!
I have noticed that in-app live chat is also available. What are some other customer service features and based on what criteria you incorporated them?
We respond to customers through all channels including social media and email, in addition to the in-app chat. We want to offer a stellar experience, and immediate and attentive customer service is at the center of that vision.
What prompted the decision to keep an ecommerce website as well as being a mobile app?
We would like to be as readily available as possible, and web is still largely how people like to interact with us.
How did you initially and how are you currently marketing your app?
Apple has selected us as “Best New App”, and we are frequently featured on the App Store. We also grow by word of mouth and social media.
Apps come out every day; what would you say are PR-A-PO standout features?
User experience and user interface design are two things we work very hard on perfecting – these are also what Apple values in apps. And, of course, our customers appreciate an easy to use and beautiful looking app as well.
What are you currently working on?
We are working on launching exclusive brands, such as Duchess of Anarchy, on PR-A-PO. Please stay tuned!
Images © PR-A-PO