Ricky Phung, ShopStoree

Offering in-store experiences online through shoppable photos, ShopStoree is a marketplace where users can discover and shop from immersive photos of retailers around the world. Retailers can sign up to have their inventory offered through ShopStoree, photographed as it is displayed in the actual brick and mortar.
Why did you start ShopStoree?
It was a combination of passion and experience, and recognizing a movement in online commerce. My co-founder Sharon and I love to shop, and there’s something about going into small retailers and being captivated by the experiences they offer. These experiences are often lost online, as many e-commerce sites force you to shop along a grid of products against white backgrounds. It's sterile and uninspiring, and we don’t think shopping online should be that way. 

What local resources did you utilize and how did they help?
Being a part of The Brandery gave us a solid foundation of mentors and advisors that helped guide us in the right direction and provided continual feedback and support. The Brandery paired us up with LPK, a world-renowned design agency based here in Cincinnati that created our branding and visual ID. We also partnered up with Resource Interactive for our web-design needs. Last but not least, we are joined by some of Cincinnati's, Columbus', and Covington's best boutiques and specialty retailers. These are the people who inspire us to create a product that helps them tell their stories.
Safe to say, we were overwhelmed by the tremendous amount of local support. 

How do you run your business? What happens on a daily basis?
We're constantly thinking about our retailers and taking into account their feedback in order to incorporate features that will improve their engagement with ShopStoree. On the consumer side, we're working on ways for consumers to discover and interact with more of our beautiful stores.

What's next?
We're iterating off of our alpha site at the moment, but for our shoppers we're working on bringing more stores for our shoppers to experience on ShopStoree. For our retailers, we're building a more intuitive user interface to make using ShopStoree as enjoyable as possible.  

Interview by Sean M. Peters
Photo by Zachariah Cole