Dote, the fast-growing shopping app for Gen Z, has announced the launch of “Shopping Party.” The feature offers consumers a live interactive video shopping experience from their cellphones. The mobile shopping startup raised $12 million in funding after completing its Series B led by Goodwater Capital. Lightspeed Venture Partners and Harrison Metal also participated, according to Business Wire.
“When we stopped going to malls with our friends and started shopping online, the experience became one skewed toward convenience and assortment. Along the way, we lost the social experience that shopping can be, which so many people have enjoyed throughout the history of commerce,” said Lauren Farleigh, Dote founder and CEO. “With Shopping Party, we’ve created a first-of-its-kind, immersive shopping experience that provides all the benefits of e-commerce, but in an engaging way you can enjoy with friends.
Shopping Party was built in response to Dote’s digitally native audience looking to recreate the real world experience of a trip to the mall with friends, yet reimagined for today’s mobile environment. Shopping Party is the first interactive live shopping experience for Gen Z. The closest experience is Twitch, the popular platform for watching and streaming video games that has over 2 million unique streamers every month.
“Dote has built a brand and technology platform that changes the way future generations will shop,” said Eric Kim, co-founder and managing partner of Goodwater Capital. “Their customer-centric shopping platform uniquely blends innovative technologies such as live-streaming with relevant and fun social features, setting the standard for how all major brands and retailers will connect with Gen Z. We’re thrilled to partner with them to accelerate this transformation.”
A typical Shopping Party session will last about 15 minutes and creators have the option to leverage all of Dote’s current in-app offerings during a Shopping Party, including giveaways, shoppable looks, and polls.
The product was built leveraging Apple’s Replaykit2 and is a step forward from a one-way communication channel, like posting a photo. Shopping Party is the first-of-its kind live social and interactive shopping experience authentically connecting Gen Z to their favorite social stars and brands.
While shopping party hosts can shop from all 150 brands on the Dote platform during parties, retailers such as Urban Outfitters, Honeybum, Princess Polly and Dolls Kill were selected for the pilot “Sponsored Party” program, where they will be partnering with creators who will throw parties interacting exclusively with their brand’s products.
For retailers, Shopping Party gives them a new audience who might not have considered their brand, had they not seen their favorite creator shop it. It also lets product feedback to come to life — a video and voiceover of what consumers can currently only express through written words in a product review section.
Founded in 2014, Dote is a social app where users can connect, get inspired by, and shop more than 150-plus popular brands with 450 of today’s biggest social media influencers.