Is “swiping right” the future for e-commerce apps?

E-commerce apps are beginning to take cues from Tinder, everyone’s favorite hookup/dating app; they are making it so that shoppers can swipe right for products that they like or left to take a pass for products they do not like.

Every type of retailer, ranging from grocery stores to fashion brands are adopting this user interface design for their apps. This idea came about from Beth Wond, managing director for Bijou Commerce, who understood this connection and began to develop this interface for retailers last year.

Over 300 retailers have approached Wond, as this approach translates to mobile the behavior customers display in the store when they shop.

There are multiple benefits, but also multiple drawbacks to this type of interface.

One benefit is that is simplifies the browsing experience by showing one image at a time, so shoppers see more items during their visit to the app. This is different from traditional retail apps in that they show 12 or more items on a single screen.

An example of a "Tinder for e-commerce" interface. (Photo courtesy of
An example of a “Tinder for e-commerce” interface. (Photo courtesy of

Wond predicts that with this system, the conversion rate (the rate at which browsing translates into purchases) is three to five times higher than traditional mobile sites.

Others see this idea as just a short-lived fad. Many are critical of the retailers that jump on the bandwagon, without first considering if the concept is truly right for their business model.

According to Ryan Matzner, director for Fueled, a mobile app and development company, “It’s a horrible fad. Shopping is different from dating because a product cannot talk to you.”

The major drawback from this type of system is that there is no capacity to search for products. It’s great for browsing, but retailers need to effectively utilize both for their app to be successful.

“Tinder for e-commerce” might not be a long-lasting trend. Developers are open to other opens when it comes to the interface of the app. But for now, the system seems to be working, at least for the retailers who are choosing to use that method for their mobile apps.



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