The basics: Launched in August 2011, this location-based fashion discovery app focused on local, independent boutiques in San Francisco offers a chance to peruse a shop’s new arrivals and current inventory before you step inside. Fire it up to scroll through offerings, get a sense of a store’s aesthetic and reserve items to try on before you visit. The ability to follow favorite retailers means you can receive alerts when new product shots have been added.
You can think of it like: A series of mobile mini catalogs to help you better focus your boutique browsing adventures.
Best for: Quickly assessing the current styles available at independent boutiques in Hayes Valley, the Mission and the Marina/Cow Hollow.
Also notable: The reserve option allows you to put items you’d like to try on hold for a limited period of time (usually 24-48 hours). Pony up to the shop, and your picks will be waiting for you, often accompanied by compatible options that can be combined into a complete look.
Could be improved: The app counts between 30 and 40 retailers as partners, but most are concentrated in the aforementioned neighborhoods. That means this is a useful tool if you love shopping boutiques in Hayes Valley, the Mission or the Marina/Cow Hollow, but not as useful if you’d like to focus your search elsewhere.
Behind-the-scenes: The app is published by Bay Area-based Lookville, Inc. and counts Yuan Zhang among its co-founders.
Available for: iPhone
More info: ShopNearMe