22 April, 2010

Union of fashion and technology for social media shopping

From fashion to technology, business to personal, productivity to social networking there is an app for that. If you’re looking for a social platform gifting and sharing tool from over 180,000 apps available then “iGift4u” iPhone application that’s compatible with iPad is for you. The app’s creators embraced social media platforms and gave users what they wanted: convenient, fun and easy shopping experience through a cell phone with ability to share. “iGift4u” is one of the first successful marriages between fashion and technology trend that resulted in global following and won “2009 Best App Ever Award” in the Social Networking category for iPhone applications beating out “Facebook by Facebook” and “Foursquare apps”. Paolo Perazzo, app’s founder, and I became friends on a social networking site when he was looking for fashion designers and I was open to technological collaborations. I had a chance to interview Paolo about what makes “iGift4u” different and successful.

Sabina Les: What is the background (technology or fashion or both) of “iGift4u” creators?
Paolo Perazzo: As a day-by-day job we are product managers and software engineers. We are Italian and so we were born with fashion in mind :). We live in Silicon Valley and in Italy (one of the 4 guys).

SL: “iGift4u” has over 2,000 fans on Facebook and only 146 on Twitter under your name. Which social platform do you utilize the most and why?
PP: We mainly used Facebook fan page as it's more convenient to build a community. We can do contests, give aways, inform people about news, etc. And users communicate with us using that vehicle too. We decided to pick Facebook to build that community and we built multiple ways to get reached to the Fan Page. Also basically all our users use iGift4u on Facebook, only a portion (still significant though) use Twitter, hence the choice. I use @iphonesivola for twitter, while the one (@iGift4u) you probably see is a test account we have, but it's not the official one. I don't use Twitter too much to be honest.

SL: What is the main point of “iGift4u”?
PS: I think the main point of this app is that whatever message you want to share with anyone, you can deliver through this app. Any content, any network, any where. Images, videos, location, music, quotes, jokes, news, web links, personal pictures can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, MMS, SMS or email. Whenever and wherever you want to express yourself, iGift4u is the single place for that.
SL: What app’s features are the most popular with users?
PP: based on our statistics we see people loving Quotes and YouTube sections, searching for images from the web, and obviously our collection of images that include the fashion section with products. People started using the app a lot with SMS and MMS, which is something we recently added.
We also have a couple of "upgrade" features which are becoming very popular: an embedded music player that lets you check the lyrics of the music you are currently listening, share that song on social networks and also check the iTunes music and video charts to get the latest hits. The other is "My Location" where people can post a picture of their location (google maps) or even take a picture and post it along with the map: it's ideal to share your location with friends if you need to meet them (private email works too and will add SMS shortly) or to take a picture (or we could call it postcard :) and mark it w/ the location.

SL: What country or countries uses this app the most?
PP: The app has been very successful all around the world. Before removing it from the app store for upgrades (now we have to start the marketing from zero again :), we were in position #3 for Social Networking and in the Top 100 of the *overall* chart: considering there are 180,000 iPhone apps out there is not bad :). We were also in the top 10 for Social Networking in many other countries (UK, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Brasil, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, Australia, Japan... well basically all around the world). This was one week ago.

SL: How many “iGift4u” users are out there?
PP: We got thousands and thousands of downloads, growing week after week. More importantly, a very high percentage of people are still actively using the app. User retention for iPhone app is typically very low and this is probably one of our best achievements and makes the platform interesting for people interested in showcasing their creations.

SL: Is there anything else you’d like to add for fashion designers?
PP: We would like to invite fashion designers and readers to be part of the app like you have.
 Screen shot of my scarf collection on "iGift4u" app
With such growth in user popularity it’s certain that “iGift4u” will be back on top again in no time. 

For more information on how to be part of the app and user download please go to http://itunes.com/app/iGift4u
Twitter @iphonesivola

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