Dec 20 AT 6:39 PM Taylor Wimberly 35 Comments

Can Zappos founder repeat success with RNKD?


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 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.


Via: Android Market

Source: RNKD

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • stenzor

    This sounds pretty cool actually.. I don’t know if it will catch on but I have a lot of clothes (for a guy)

    • damambt

      I have a thing for Tee’s so yeah, I can see how this might evolve into something successful. Many new ideas appear odd in the beginning.

      • Futureboy

        I have a thing for electronics and none of them are in my closet. Let me know when someone makes an app that offers loyalty rewards or discounts for listing your gear.

    • goncalossilva

      It gives you perks for organizing your closet :p

      Not bad (/Obama face).

  • damambt

    Hopefully this will lead to a new kind of shopping for consumers. Some of these start-ups may appear strange but this man obviously knows the business and he sees an opportunity that others don’t. Hopefully he will succeed passing on great deals to the shoppers. i like zappos and if Amazon got their hands on it, they obviously saw something worthy of an investment.

  • ramenchef

    This does sound pretty awesome. I generally shop only a few name brands for myself, so this is perfect for me.

    • LukeT32

      Agreed. I really only shop for clothes at 2 or 3 stores. So discounts for shopping there alot would be nice. Most store loyalty programs suck or you have to shop there weekly to get anything ….

  • Thomas Biard

    This guy has phenomenal business ideas and I hope he keeps leading us into new ways to enhance our internet shopping experience. I love Zappos so I’ll have to give this a try.

  • Osby Nowlin

    Definitely a unique and very cool idea. I hope RNKD is successful. Now I may need to go shopping.

  • droilfade

    Time to show off my Cape!!! Swoosh!!!!

    • kazahani

      Capes are so badass.

      I bet Chuck Norris wears a cape.

  • ndub21

    Hmm, interesting concept. Could catch on, you never know really.

  • osc707

    Great idea. If this thing catches on as he envisions it, it could prove to be worth while!

  • lokidokie

    That is a pretty brilliant idea. I’d never use it, but there is totally a market for it (my wife for example)

  • zyphbear

    No offense to the guy or the concept, but it doesn’t sound like a good income source unlike Zappos. I don’t plan on participating in the project, but if it works for some people, go for it.
    I think he should focus more on selling a product and helping revamp customer service like he did with Zappos.

  • alxrock

    I checked it out, but right now it seems like a popularity contest to see who likes the clothes in your closet. Rewards for “best sneaker collection” or “most followers” doesn’t really appeal to me.

  • SlyDog

    Could be hot if Victoria Secret adds perks for best thong collection. Just sayin’

  • Billy

    Interesting …. I think … wait huh… I applaud for trying things new and think there is a niche for most things. Hopefully he succeeds .. but not so sure I have the time or inclination for this.

    Although, I wouldn’t mind hearing how it works for others as it moves along.

  • burnnhell

    Perks for showing off my watch collection? Sounds good to me, as long as it doesnt attach my location so some fool can come steal my stuff!

  • Alexis Piraina

    Ahah, i never seen so much ugly clothes ! Warning : looking at this website can give you visual dammage.

  • Jorge Eslava

    It sounds like a good idea, and I can think of a few people that would like this.

  • spintrex

    This gives me the same feel as Klout which rewards you for being social throughout the internet. The downside about Klout, in my eyes, is the perks that they provide which are not all that great half of the time.

    RKD seems like a great way to enforce customer loyalty to a brand only if those brands are willing to pitch in some new products to those with a certain rank. Product placement is a tricky business which is going to be the obstacle RKD will face but if it succeeds I will be very much interested!

  • Hall Lo

    Sounds awesome! Quite interesting and useful idea :D

  • RRR

    Extending the idea, Taylor- let’s patent it – then i definitely must be rewarded from Fry’s Electronics. And Nvidia btw too :-)

  • vid500

    I my opinion some thing shuld just stay as they are, I personally don’t feel the need to share my whole closed with the www. But if someone does, go for it.

  • Lewis McGeary

    While this isn’t for me, I can absolutely see there being a community who would use it.
    Need to get deals being offered by brands though, the social/competitive thing on it’s own is a good element, but deals are what will fuel it to succeed.

  • Bruno

    I totally get this but I wouldn’t be interested until they have some of my brands as partners.

  • Tom Fechhelm

    And RNKD stands for what? Or is it short for ranked?

    • jefflarkin

      I think it’s ranked. I couldn’t quite sound it out in my head, but I think you’ve nailed it.

  • jefflarkin

    Hmm, not sure I really get the appeal for it, but then again, I’m a very brand unloyal customer. As Bruno alluded, if they don’t get the right brands involved from the start, this won’t take off.

  • mclarensr

    Sounds like a good concept. But what is RNKD?

  • kazahani

    Would you guys judge me when you find out how many man-thongs I own??

  • Skis03

    I agree, they should do this for electronics and then you can get discounts for loyalty.

    • donger

      free electronics! free stuff!

  • Pedro from Vegas

    Nick should have no problem doing this considering Zappos is behind him. Look at all the free cash hes throwing at his members !!!! Check out a little more info on nick on my site ,