Dressli is a social shopping application that, along with a rich catalog of apparel, shoes and accessories, provides an opportunity to connect shoppers with other fashion-mongers and lets them have shopping fun together. Fashion lovers can search fashion items, select favorite ones, share interesting finds with their shopping mates and chat with them inside the app in real time.
This application harmonically combines functionality of the mobile shopping mall with a group messaging app and it is a bright implementation of the idea that m-commerce can create an exciting shopping experience, blur the boundary between in-store and online shopping, and make it truly social.
Dmitry Chourpo, an initiator and executive coordinator of Dressli, was looking for a skilled iOS developers to work on this project for quite a long time. The design and backend of the application was almost ready, and it was time to start building corresponding mobile client for the app. It was a very important choice as Dressli was a large ambitious project with extensive development plans. Such app required a reliable development team with decent qualifications and capable to work on a long term basis. Sure enough, we fell in love with that project immediately.
We have already worked on social commerce apps before. We actually built many of them within our Getsocio project. However, Dressli was more comprehensive and versatile application, and we saw here a great opportunity to raise our skills in that area to the new heights.
The sophisticated task of building a mobile client capable to serve all diverse functions of that app was entrusted to our qualified iOS developers - Daria Kovalenko and Vitaliy Voropaev. The solid team of these two devs worked hand in hand to create the first basic version of Dressli app and release it to public as soon as it was possible.
Daria and Vitaly had already worked together before but they practiced pair-programming approach with their previous projects in Anadea. While working on Dressli, they digressed from pair-programming methodics. They still remained a single team and previous pair-programming experience was, undoubtedly, very useful. But now they split tasks within their small team and worked on their parts independently. It was an interesting experience, which required careful coordination and balancing of workflow for both of them, and they succeeded in it a lot.
The first version of Dressli was officially released on September 8, 2014 when, after two thrilling weeks of waiting, it was approved on AppStore and became available to its early users. Of course this was only the first step in the evolution of this app and lots of upgrades and challenges were awaiting ahead. But it was already a nice feasible implementation of the application for social shopping via mobile with a fairly wide selection of items, division into categories, search and filtering options.
After this first release, several more stages of development were carried out divided with the pauses for collecting users’ feedback and rearranging the requirements. Each new stage brought in some useful updates to the app: the 2nd phase introduced significant UI improvements; the 3rd - API upgrades, interface changes, since then users were enabled to send invitations to friends and run several chats at a time.
The further development iterations proceeded with the interface, performance and usability enhancements. Here are some helpful features for social shopping implemented in this app:
- Intelligent shopping mates matching system. Shopping is a fascinating thing by itself but what makes it even more engaging is a joint shopping with the right person. Dressli app provides an ability to search for shopping partners. The matching system went through several re-sharpening stages, when different options, e.g. automatching with people who are already on the service, inviting friends from Facebook, etc., were tried. Eventually, this feature grew into possibility to be matched and shop with a personal stylist.
Live conversations while shopping. When a match is done, the shopping buddies can share the images of the products they like and exchange comments. The images in the messages are interactive - by clicking on the received image your partner goes to the screen with the product description.
Favourites lists. In order not to lose a nice item - an insanely beautiful ring from the "Swarovski" or divine underwear by "Agent Provocateur" - during an enthralling shopping trip through the app, the user can add it to the list of favourites. And a nice bonus of the joint shopping is the ability to look in your partner’s favourites list.
In this project, our role was to build an iOS mobile client (the rest was provided by the customer). The iOS app of Dressli is built with Objective-C using the native SDK XCode. Initially the app was optimized for iPhone 5 but it is compatible with all iOS devices with version 7.0 or later.
The app is integrated with some third-party solutions. The unique user identification is made via Facebook authorization by using the Facebook SDK. Several technologies were considered for the the live messaging system. After evaluation, based on the criteria of implementation time and minimum functionality required at that moment, it was done using Pusher.
An important role in the creation of this app and its notable usability was played by a beta testing service TestFlight, which provides an opportunity to test apps in all stages of the development. Almost daily our engineers uploaded new builds of the application to TestFlight, the customer could install it to a device and check if the newly implemented functionality fits the requirements.
Dressli embeds live communication into mobile shopping process and fosters the human connection in the virtual space. The idea of bringing social aspect into e-commerce is not that new but Dressli goes beyond it and provides synchronous realtime shopping capabilities. It is an innovative application that brings fresh exciting experience to fashion shoppers and we are proud to take part in building it. We also were greatly rewarded with the feedback received from the customer:
"Your team is great! I am very comfortable working with guys. They did a great job, a bottle of Dom Perignon will be on their way shortly."