Tactac is an app that lets you get friend's opinions on items before purchasing them online. Courtesy Tactac.

This Boulder app looks to use your friends’ recommendations to make online shopping easier

BOULDER — An app that looks to make online shopping a better, more trustworthy experience is the latest endeavor from startup studio Boulder Bits.

Tactac is an app that lets shoppers invite friends to share opinions and recommendations on potential purchases. Tactac is an Amazon affiliate, and customers can view Amazon items, share them with friends and then make purchases all through the Tactac app.

The app was developed through a partnership with Boulder Bits, which looks for solutions to problems — such as online shopping — and creates business models around those solutions. As a portfolio company of Boulder Bits, Tactac recently got about $300,000 in investment money to continue to grow the app, which launched in July.

“Tactac came about because there are a variety of women looking for similar things and they’re getting frustrated because they’re not getting the right things. But if they had talked to their friends, they would have,” said Jesse Lawrence, CEO of Boulder Bits and board member for Tactac. “Being a guy, I recognize the fact that a guy developing an app for women doesn’t make much sense. But that’s what has happened all the way through e-commerce: it’s been developed by men.”

So Tactac started by interviewing women and asking them what they needed differently that wasn’t available today.

“We found that conversation is at the heart of shopping, not separated from shopping,” Lawrence said. “That’s how Tactac came to be.”

Users can search for products on the app and add them to a collection they create. They can add friends to the collection who can comment on the item or recommend similar items they like better.

“It’s your social network that knows you best,” said Sarah Phillips, chief operations officer of Boulder Bits.

The goal is to put some trust back into online shopping.

“A vast majority of online reviews are fake or incentivized,” said Ned Stankus, one of the founders of Tactac. “So you can’t trust them. But you can trust your friends. Tactac is meant to solve a problem when you’re at a transition point in your life, such as a first home or having a child. You know what you need to buy but not the pros and cons of what stroller or baby monitor to buy.”

Rather than targeting your broad social network, Tactac lets you select a few close friends whose opinions are trusted and who might know best about this particular item.

The app is free to use and is currently seeking feedback from users. Tactac generates revenue by earning a small commission for facilitating purchases through Amazon.

Tactac is looking at possibly broadening out its store offerings and plans to add an android and web platform.

Through this service, Tactac said it hopes to make the customer experience better and more trustworthy.

“We’re not pushing anything,” Lawrence said. “We don’t care what people buy as long as they’re happy with what they buy.”