My guess is that most of you have never heard of Nick Swinmurn before, but I bet you recognize the company he founded in 1999 called Zappos.com. With the help of Tony Hsieh and Alfred Lin from San Francisco-based Venture Frogs, Zappos went on to generate $1 billion in sales in 2008 and then sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion in 2009.
Nick Swinmurn left Zappos in 2006 when he decided he wanted to do new things. He started his next venture Dethrone Royalty in 2008, which became one of the most recognizable names in MMA apparel, but Swinmurn found it difficult to connect with customers. This lead to the idea behind RNKD, which just launched in November 2011.
RNKD is a new service that rewards you for indexing your closet. It follows a similar loyalty business model as Zappos, but RNKD is unique because people can gain perks based on things they already own.
Users just upload pictures of what’s in their closet and then tag the brand and purchase location to start earning points and weekly rewards. No major brands have signed up yet to offer perks, but users can still win giftcards to Zappos and Dethrone Royalty with contests for deepest collection, most influential, best watch collection, and more.
We had the chance to interview Swinmurn this week where he described his idea behind RNKD. Nick said, “Every consumer has favorite brands, stores and designers that they are loyal to for one reason or another, but most have never been recognized or rewarded for their purchases. RNKD looks to put an end to that, allowing consumers a platform to showcase their loyalty and ultimately receive the benefits they deserve.”
Nick described his vision of future perks by using Nike as an example. ”If you buy more shoes from Nike than anyone else -– shouldn’t you be given early access to new lines and different pricing than someone who is trying the product for the first time and may never buy again?”
I think the loyalty idea behind RNKD is brilliant and it has real potential to connect brands to their most faithful customers (similar to what we are doing with our points system). However, the service is only one month old and has a long way to go. Download stats were not provided, but the month-old iOS version only has 5 reviews, Nick’s profile has 13 followers, and I was user ID 2597 when I signed up.
Clearly there is a long road ahead of RNKD before it can be deemed a success, but Nick’s experience with Zappos should help him slowly grow the business.
Today the Android version of RNKD became available to download, so check it out and share your feedback. Android tablets are not supported and the app didn’t really work on my Galaxy Nexus, so I couldn’t get a good feel of the service. The screen shots that were provided looked pretty bland, so the developers have a long way to go with improving the user interface. (For starters, they might want to update their Android Market listing with a promotional image and video to attract more downloads.)
I’m not really sure if our hardcore nerd audience is the kind of crowd that wants to upload pictures of their clothes for others to look at, but I could be wrong. Let us know if you recognize the genius behind RNKD or can think of any family members that the service might appeal to.