Social sharing is not a new concept. In fact, everything is social now. But Tokyo-based startup Origami has taken it one step further by creating a mobile social shopping experience that can bridge the gap between e-commerce and offline retailing.

The startup has released an app, also known as Origami, that does three main functions. It allows users to follow their favourite shops and brands, purchase items within the app and also check-in at both real or virtual retail shops if users want to share their shopping experience.

Currently, brands and retailers using the Origami mobile commerce app for their promotional efforts include names such as Beams, Mori Museum, MoMA Design Store, Hysteric Glamour, Bang & Olufsen, Mizuma Art Gallery, as well as some department stores and art galleries.

origami interfaceUsers can now encounter an item of interest in a way other than conventional search processes when decide to follow these brands. Through the integration with social media, they can share their shopping experience with friends so that they will be easily encouraged to buy something if many of their friends liked it, even if they didn’t actually buy it.On the Origami platform, every merchant would have both a real and virtual store.

When users had visited the real or virtual store and checked in there on social media, merchants would be able to boost their promotion and create more related presence because when that user checks in, another user would be able to click on it, and access to that brand or retailers virtual store on the app.

The startup has also received funds from Japanese telco KDDI and digital ad agency Digital Advertising Consortium (DAC) amounting to $5million.

The telco will provide both financial support and also technical integration with their mobile platform for a better user experience. DAC and its subsidiaries will provide technology solutions for the startup.

Origami has also partnered with Condé Nast Group, the publisher of magazine brands like Vogue Japan, GQ Japan, and Wired which will give the app users the latest trends on fashion and gadgets through the app.

The Origami app is only available on iOS but would be releasing an Android in two or three months. They are also considering developing a desktop version and expand globally, but intend to focus on the iOS app for the time being.