Sneakpeeq’s 1.1 Million Users Get iPad App

iPhone app in the works, says cofounder Henry Kim

When it comes to developing a shopping app, it’s usually better to launch for tablets first. Studies have shown how valuable tablet shoppers are compared to their smartphone-wielding counterparts. For social commerce startup Sneakpeeq, visitors to its mobile site are twice more likely to click around if they’re on an iPad than an iPhone, said cofounder and president Henry Kim. Little wonder then that Sneakpeeq’s 1.1 million users are getting an iPad app before one for the iPhone, though Kim said the latter is in the works.

Given that 90 percent of Sneakpeeq’s user base are women, it’s no surprise that the iPad app appeals to the fairer demo. At launch users are presented three categories—living, style and beauty—within which to view products from the 3,500-plus brands marketing their wares on Sneakpeeq. Kim described the app has having a “magazine-y feel.” An iPad magazine-y feel might be a more apt description. Each product page is dominated by an often professionally shot image of the item. Users can scroll down the page to learn more about the product, such as why Sneakpeeq chose to include the brand on its platform.

However, users are probably more interested in the price than the process. Rather than presenting the price upfront, Sneakpeeq teases the figure by calling on users to “peeq” at it. It’s a cute ploy, but one that also plays at Sneakpeeq’s pricing personalization. The more users perform actions on Sneakpeeq like sharing a product to Facebook, the more badges they receive which can be redeemed for discounts. When users click to peeq at a product, they are presented the price minus the largest discount available to that user based on the badges they’ve accrued. When a user checks out their peeq price, they can opt to use one of their discount badges or pay full price. Users are limited to 20 peeqs a day so that they only eyeball discounts on products they’re actually interested in. Kim said Sneakpeeq monitors which products a user peeqs at so that its algorithms can better personalize the products presented to them throughout the app. “We’re creating a personalized unique mall for every person,” he said.

Peeqs aren’t the only signal Sneakpeeq’s personalization algorithm takes into account. Users can click to “love” an item, which bookmarks it to their profile so that others can see, or share it to their Facebook friends (Sneakpeeq was an early Open Graph partner). In determining which items to show a user, Sneakpeeq also looks at the specific attributes of products a user views, shares, loves and buys as well as those liked by their friends.

Less than a year old, Sneakpeeq has done well for being such a young startup. A number of Sneakpeeq’s merchants, including Diamond Candles, have notched more than $100,000 in sales per months, and the site served 2 billion impressions in August, Kim said. But having only launched last December, it has yet to experience a full holiday season. Sneakpeeq’s 30 employees are girding for the rush. In addition to the iPhone app, the company is working on a brand portal to shorten its brands’ shipping window from the current 14 days to same-day shipping. Kim said the company will look to the data it has on its brands and users to help forecast how many units they might expect to sell in a given period in order to modify production accordingly.

Closer on Sneakpeeq’s launch calendar is a series of holiday-related badges that will roll out in October. Eventually Sneakpeeq will add brand-specific badges and allow brands to contact their most loyal customers through the notification bar.