Fashion App Development for a Model Scouting Platform
- Project recovery
- Functional and technical website upgrade
- Website redesign
- Accelerated time-to-market
Trying to reboot the ill-starred website launch, the customer came to Iflexion for development and functional enhancement of their AI-powered model scouting platform.
The customer, a US-based startup, had an AI matchmaking platform that connected models with brands, fashion industry scouts, sponsors, and donors. The platform granted access to the models’ profiles, different fashion brands, and professional services.
The customer had been working on this project for several years, changing vendors and trying different frameworks and backend technologies. To avoid dragging this project for too long, the startup launched the platform despite the fact it was still half-baked. At that time, it lacked many critical features, and both the frontend and backend called for improvement.
The customer realized they wanted to extend the solution’s functionality and revamp the design. Considering Iflexion’s previous experience in projects for the fashion industry, the startup relied on our web app development services.
As the platform had multiple problems in both the backend and frontend, we first audited it in order to evaluate the scope of rework. Then, we implemented a number of useful features, including those added via third-party integrations.
We audited the existing functionality and collected requirements for further fashion software development that would combine e-commerce and professional networking functions.
In order to understand the solution’s quality in both technical and user-experience terms, Iflexion’s team performed the following:
1. We reviewed the existing codebase and database structure
2. We identified outstanding code quality issues
3. We initiated and completed all-round manual UI testing
4. We corrected all identified bugs and critical issues
As a result, we found out that even the basic functionality was far from being ready, and many processes lacked business logic. Design-wise, we proposed a few updates, including a reworked look and structure for the model’s pages, as well as some visual effects such as mouseovers and micro-animations.
We put all the planned technical and functional enhancements in the project backlog together with workload estimates for each item.
The customer was looking to accelerate time-to-market and increase the overall cost-effectiveness of the solution. Together we decided against developing some features from scratch and used available third-party tools instead.
The MVP featured the following functionality enabled through the integrations:
- Registration of private and business accounts and their verification via Trulioo
- Digital signature of contracts through DocuSign
- Payment for promoted products and services via Stripe
We defined the following user roles of the platform:
- Models who published their portfolios on the website and promoted sponsored products or services on their personal pages.
- Sponsors who offered their products or services to models for promotion, for example, fashion items or cosmetics.
- Donors who viewed the model’s profile and purchased the advertised products or services from the model’s page.
We added more features specifically for these user roles to enhance their experiences.
User experience and communication
- Recommendations for donors and sponsors based on the recently viewed models’ profiles
- View count for live streams, with the most viewed videos pushed to the homepage
- Chat history that accumulates during a video play
- A range of filters for advanced search
- Email personalization based on the model's geolocation
We added 2-factor authentication as well as user ID verification. For payment processing, we implemented credit card and automated clearing house (ACH) payments using Stripe and Plaid integrations.
Live video streaming
Our team came up with an idea of implementing the live stream functionality in place of the broadcasts in the platform’s earlier version, which required downloading and installing OBS Studio. That created a technical barrier to broadcasting from mobile phones and wasn’t a user-friendly option altogether.
After researching, our specialists suggested direct integration with YouTube and Facebook. This would allow for an easy start and increased accessibility, as these digital services are highly popular with the platform’s demographic. We introduced live broadcasts and online chats through Facebook Live and YouTube Live integrations, enabling the following features:
- Responding to the audience during live streams
- Saving live streams directly on the platform
- Viewing all active live streams with current and overall view counts
- Viewing a model’s live stream, including their bio details and available promos
- Joining live streams and participating in their live chats
We enhanced the admin panel with the new features. Now the platform admins can:
- Organize payments, view donations, and approve models
- View stored DocuSign contracts in the dashboard
- View donations sent to a model’s account including their details, as well as receive notifications about new donations
- Assign and delete user types to models, donors, and additional admins
- Edit and remove services
- View the list of active live streams, archive and delete them
- Add and edit meta-tags, keywords, and descriptions on models’ pages for SEO purposes
Technologies and Tools
The solution’s backend is based on the Laravel PHP framework. The frontend is built with the Vue.js framework. As a database management system, we implemented MySQL.
Iflexion’s experts integrated the customer’s solution with the following third-party applications via their APIs:
- Stripe for card payment processing, with the additional integration of Plaid for ACH payments
- MailChimp for managing newsletter subscriptions and email campaigns
- Mandrill for email verification after an account is created
- Trulioo for verifying users’ identities
- Amazon Web Services (AWS) for storing videos, chat history, and contracts
- Facebook Live and YouTube Live for live streams
- DocuSign for electronic signing of documents
- Google Maps API for determining users’ location during registration and showing them relevant products and services
We integrated Facebook Live and YouTube Live using the OAuth2 framework for user authentication. We used Amazon AWS EC2 as a cloud virtual server and Amazon S3 as a storage service for media files. We opted for Amazon Route 53 as a DNS web service provider.
We ran the project according to Agile practices and the Scrum methodology. The customer was continuously involved in the process, so we could quickly clarify project requirements and approve intermediate deliverables.
Iflexion introduced continuous code review practices to ensure ongoing code quality improvement. Our engineers used a stage/production environment for preliminary testing and coordination with the customer, as well as automated continuous deployment.
The platform has become a professional networking and crowdfunding hub connecting models with photographers, stylists, and designers, as well as allowing models to negotiate with brands and sign sponsorship deals without intermediaries.
After Iflexion helped the startup upgrade the platform technically and implement live broadcasts and chats, the service raised its profitability as the sales of promoted products and services by models also increased.
Since going live in its upgraded version, the website enjoyed a 15% higher traffic conversion and 3x faster loading time across all pages.
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