Shopify is the latest e-commerce platform attempting to alleviate the fervor of streetwear product drops with a mobile app.
Earlier this year, the company launched Frenzy, an app that streamlines product drops by notifying users of available products in their area. In addition to tracking availability, it allows consumers to make purchases directly from their phones using Apple Pay. Since first rolling out the app with several Shopify partners — primarily streetwear brands like Raised By Wolves and Montreal-based Off The Hook — Frenzy has amassed thousands of active users. In March, 500 consumers used the app to snag a pair of Kanye West’s Yeezy sneakers. Now Frenzy is launching a geo-targeted flash sale capability that allows brands to sell exclusive products on the app to select cities around the U.S. Brands have the option to sell all of its inventory of a particular item through Frenzy or offer a portion of the products.
The first partnership will be take place on Saturday in Los Angeles, with Anti Social Social Club. Frenzy will offer a custom sweatshirt that will only be available to Frenzy users located in the Elysian Park community until the style is sold out. Frenzy and Anti Social Social Club teased the drop by setting up a series of enigmatic billboards around West Hollywood that listed a 1-800 number and the brand’s logo. Calling the number leads to a recording of a Morse Code message, translating to the numbers six and 10, pointing to the date of the drop (June 10).
An Instagram post of the billboards teasing the Anti Social Social Club product drop in West Hollywood
“Frenzy came out of the realization that any time a really hot product that has limited inventory gets released, consumers have to jump through a million different hurdles just to purchase it,” said Tucker Schreiber, co-creator of Frenzy and product manager of Shopify. “We figured, ‘Why don’t we build an app that reduces all that friction of having to set a reminder on your phone, and having to type in all your billing and shipping information.”
Frenzy is the latest in a series of mobile pushes in the streetwear market, an industry traditionally shrouded in secrecy and exclusivity. In order to cut down on the hysteria of product drops, traditional retailers like Nike and Adidas have started driving consumers to their mobile apps where they’re notified of launches and provided with exclusive access. Meanwhile, under-the-radar brands have taken to private Facebook groups to announce new products and sell directly through the social platform.
Schreiber conceptualized the idea last June, as part of a Shopify hackathon held every quarter. These events are designed to convene different segments of the company to brainstorm new product ideas. His next step is to expand Frenzy beyond streetwear and into markets like beauty and music, with focuses on cosmetic product drops and concert tickets, respectively.
The Frenzy app in action
The app operates by allowing users to track available items in their area, thank to a timer that counts down to when it’s officially available for purchase. Frenzy then sends the user a series of push notifications, indicating when a specific item is available. With the new geo-targeting tool, only users in the specified area will see those products. Schreiber said the regional focus was inspired by discussions with retailers, who said they wanted to find unique ways to strategically cater certain products to specific communities.
“It gives them the opportunity to essentially launch digital pop-up shops to connect with their local consumers,” he said. “That way, consumers aren’t competing against tens of thousands of people, they’re just competing against the people in their drop zone.”