This post is part of our new Future of eCommerce series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we recently had with Cally Russell, Founder and CEO of Mallzee.
1. What’s the history of Mallzee? Where and how did you begin?
CR: Mallzee is the UK’s leading multi-retailer fashion shopping app, downloaded over 1.1 million times and the original ‘Tinder for Fashion’. The marketplace app helps people find, compare, save and buy from hundreds of high street retailers – now with tens of millions of products rated every month.
In 2017, the company launched Mallzee Insights to help brands improve full price sell-through via data. Our retail solution: Product Future, enables swipe functionality to gain insight into retail collections. By presenting new ranges to thousands of target-consumers, we’re able to provide instant feedback on the popularity of potential products long before they are stocked – improving costly ordering decisions.
Founded 2013 in Edinburgh to fix the broken experience that was shopping on mobile – founder and CEO Cally Russell identified that people were doing more and more via their smartphones and fashion shopping on mobile involved going in and out of each retailer's websites.
Mallzee has raised 4 rounds of investment totaling £3.1 million, grown to a team of 24 based in city centre offices, have won a range of tech awards, been featured in press around the world and Yahoo named us one of six apps that will change the way the world shops forever.
2. What specific problem does Mallzee solve? How do you solve it?
CR: Mallzee solves two distinct problems;
1. Mallzee makes it fun and easy for consumers to shop, save and buy from hundreds of retailers in one handy marketplace app. Using Tinder-style technology has made personalized shopping on mobile enjoyable and saves consumers time and money as previously liked items help shape unique style feeds and recommendations and any item previously liked that then drops in price automatically triggers a price drop notification – saving shoppers time and money.
2. Mallzee is helping retailers achieve full price sell-through by using the unique consumer preference data to deliver retailers with actionable insights to maximise product profitability. Via Product Future retailers can even showcase potential future collections to thousands of target consumers to determine which are going to be retail winners and losers and to place stock orders accordingly.
Mallzee Insights was launched in 2017 – just in time as retailers are currently facing a perfect storm of rising costs; product, people, and premises against a backdrop of lowered consumer confidence and spending, this coupled with changing consumer shopping habits means that more than ever retailers need to fully understand their product performance and customers, in order to survive. Retailers have become overly reliant on discounting (according to our data 36% of high street fashion was discounted in the first three months of 2017 compared to 21% for the same period in 2016) and this is a short-term solution instead we believe they should be focussing on maximising the profitability of every product in their range and not leading consumers to expect discounts
3. What’s the future of eCommerce?
Prediction #1: I’d predict that we will see further changes to the retail landscape with those retailers who maintain a strong brand identity and a good understanding of who their customers are doing best and those who don’t could well struggle to survive.
Prediction #2: Obviously we believe Mallzee and our data analytics solution Mallzee Insights will change the face of fashion retail by putting the customer at the heart of all decisions.
Prediction #3: Consumers whether in-store or online or on mobile are expecting more than merely transactional interactions – we will see retailers offering more and more experiential interactions.
4. What are the top 3 technology trends you're seeing in eCommerce?
Trend #1: Personalisation.
Trend #2: Voice recognition.
Trend #3: Data harnessing such as the real-time real consumer opinion data that Mallzee Insights can deliver.
5. Why is eCommerce ripe for disruption?
CR: eCommerce is ripe for disruption as consumer expectations and shopping habits are changing fast and retailers need to keep up and adapt. The fashion retail industry hasn’t been evolving fast enough and retailers have relied too heavily on historical data and gut feelings when making stock ordering, merchandising, marketing and pricing decisions. Mallzee Insights gives real time, real consumer preference opinion insight into products enabling much more effective retail decision making.
About Cally Russell
Mr. Cally Russell is 29 years old and was born and raised in Dunoon in the highlands of Scotland, making him an unlikely fashion app entrepreneur as there wasn’t a fashion outlet for miles.
He went to Dunoon Grammar School, then to Dundee University originally to study Business Economics and Marketing but changed to Politics and International Relations. His first job was for the Interpublic Group, Edinburgh working on a range of PR and Public Affairs clients including launching NHS 24 in Scotland.
Cally has always had that entrepreneurial spirit. His first full-time start-up venture was when he set up an Online Student magazine in Edinburgh – StudentPunch – this went well well and ended up with advertising clients such as RBS, but then the idea of Mallzee was born and the rest, as they say, is history.
Last year Cally was selected by Forbes for their prestigious 30 Under 30 European influencers list (Retail and eCommerce) and recently he was featured on the cover of Drapers as one of their 30 Next Generation Ones To Watch.