Like many websites built on user-created content, only a fraction of Polyvore’s 20 million monthly visitors — about five percent — actually contribute their own designs to the personal style platform.
But those contributions — which entail organizing images of clothes, accessories and home decor products into outfits and interior design arrangements known as “sets” — are what keep the majority of passive users coming back.
Up to now, those creators have used drag-and-drop functionality on desktops and laptops that works fine enough. On Polyvore’s iPhone app, they’ve been able to move products around in a smoother way with finger swipes, but the limited screen size is less than ideal.
But, with the launch of its iPad app today, Polyvore is giving its current creators a more attractive canvas to design on. And its passive users get a more enjoyable browsing — and, perhaps, shopping — experience.
The app also gives Polyvore a medium with which it can generate incremental sales across its different revenue streams. Brands that currently create their own collages and pay to have Polyvore feature them, or that just advertise a specific product to drive transactions, can now extend their campaigns to the iPad in a more native way than on a mobile Web experience.
Polyvore also makes money from affiliate links, when its users discover a product on Polyvore and click through to a third-party site to purchase it. It’s not a stretch to imagine that conversion will be higher on the iPad app, if broader e-commerce trends are any indication.
So, why is a company that was founded in 2007 just launching an iPad app now? CEO Jess Lee said that Polyvore made the iPhone app its first priority, because it was seeing more mobile Web traffic from that device than from iPads.
Lee wouldn’t comment on her company’s revenue, but said that Polyvore is both cash-flow positive and profitable. The company has raised more than $22 million from Benchmark Capital, Harrison Metal and Goldman Sachs.