July 30, 2014

Sneak Peek: Can Shopilly End Daily Deal Email Inbox Madness?

A sneak peek at Shopilly, a promising new shopping tool from former eBay execs, left me doing what the welcome screen suggests: reserving my Shopilly ID…before it’s taken. While the allure of being the only “Lorraine” ID (no random numbers at the end! no weird underscores!) was, in and of itself, too good to pass up, I am looking forward to using soon-to-launch tool for other reasons. At the top of the list: if Shopilly works like it’s supposed to, it could mean I never have to look at another deal-related email again.

Of course, I could make that happen for myself next week, if I felt like unsubscribing from about 700,000 email lists. But here’s the thing: I like getting all those deal notifications, newsletters and emails. They save me money. I also write about them, tweet them, share them with readers. So for that, I like them. I just don’t like actually looking at them in my inbox. It’s the information, the discount codes, the dates of the in-store sales themselves that I want – not the actual communique getting them to me.

When it takes on its first members in the next month or so, the San Jose-based company will pull deals from the email accounts you give it access to, save them on Shopilly and even filter the emails from your inbox if you’d that to happen, Shopilly CEO Anirban Datta explained to me as he showed me screenshots of the forthcoming site. While the company wasn’t ready to release screenshots publicly just yet, I can tell you that it looks something like a cleaner, more streamlined version of Pinterest, with each deal or promotional email indicated by an image and saved in a nice scrollable grid format. It means being able to pull anything from the day’s Groupon deal to a sale at Bloomingdale’s into one place, get it out of your email and have access to it on a mobile device when you are shopping I.R.L.

In addition to just saving deals, Shopilly will also have a great many other bells and whistles, including the ability, should you choose to allow it, to alert stores of your presence via mobile device when you are shopping in person and offer you deals based on your purchasing history.

I thought it was an compelling enough idea on its own, but the team behind the project adds to the intrigue: the technical co-founder is eBay’s former chief engineer, Randy Shoup, and there are lots of other interesting folks involved, including people from places like Wharton, StumbleUpon and even a former prof of mine from Stanford.

The company is hoping to amass its beta tester pool from the people signing up to reserve IDs, so if getting in on something early and beta testing like only a shopping bandit can sounds like fun, it could be worth signing up.

For more news and updates about fashion and technology, keep your eyes on @InStyleandTech, a new project from SF Indie Fashion founder Lorraine Sanders. Online home coming soon…