Digital publisher Robyn Foyster on an app to revolutionise retail

Robyn Foyster

• Sweep is the first community-based, augmented reality shopping app

Robyn Foyster is no stranger in media. Dipping her toes in publishing, television and digital over three decades across a range of premium titles, Foyster continues to grow her portfolio. With her natural affinity to create quality media for women, Foyster has recently founded Sweep; an app designed to give consumers great shopping deals and help make insightful shopping purchases. Foyster told Mediaweek about her transition from print to digital, and her new online platforms including her app Sweep.

Foyster told Mediaweek she first started at AAP as a graduate cadet and then became a journalist and feature writer for Today newspaper in London. 

Foyster said: “After that, I moved to Los Angeles where I was the West Coast reporter for Channel 4’s Big Breakfast and later joined the breakfast show GMTV in London. Then after a stint as a freelancer working for a range of titles including The Sunday Times, I took up a role as editor-in-chief of New Idea magazine in New Zealand and then in Australia. Later, I was poached to be editor-in-chief of The Australian Women’s Weekly where I worked for two years before joining the Seven Network as lifestyle editor at Sunrise.

“After one year, I got a call from David Gyngell and went back to ACP – which became Bauer – as a publisher across the top women’s titles. I was the publisher of Woman’s Day, Harper’s BAZAAR, Cosmopolitan, Madison, Good Health and Grazia. After that, I set up my own businesses including The Carousel, and Women Love Tech. Three years ago, I launched Game Changers where we profile entrepreneurs in what is a high-quality three-camera shoot with top interviewers including Edwina Bartholomew and Sarah Harris hosting the show. We are now filming our 11th series.”

Foyster said when she was at The Weekly, the brand was receiving great figures in the digital space. “We were getting a reach of four million a month and then after the first major redesign in 10 years the reach increased to six million a month,” said Foyster. “I had plenty of experience in digital, so the real transition really was making the shift from being the boss of a bunch of magazines in a very big company with big teams, to then going out on my own setting up something from scratch where I didn’t have a big brand behind me.”

Foyster said one of the reasons for starting The Carousel was because she wanted to do more video content. “Only five or six years ago, the idea of snackable content that we were starting to do was very new. Back then, there was a lot more money being made in digital by smaller publishers because Facebook and Google did not have a stranglehold over advertising like they do now. A lot of smaller websites that started at the same time as me haven’t survived, like The Hoopla and HealthyMeTV. I realised early on that you need different revenue streams such as content production to survive. It is harder to get revenue from traditional advertising,” said Foyster. 

As a passionate shopper, Robyn founded the app, Sweep, which is the first community-based, augmented reality shopping app on the market.

Sweep app

Foyster said the app helps shoppers save time and money allowing them to discover deals and retailers both online and in stores nearby. With personalised feeds and a price history tool, the app connects active shoppers with retailers. 

Sweep uses people’s shopping preferences to give what deals are available in their location. There’s also a very unique feature – the Augmented Reality map finder – which shows people the pathway to get to nearby shops.”

Sweep offers all types of stores including technology, beauty, fashion, and health. With the available technologies like AI and geo-location, the app provides a better avenue for shoppers who are craving a sweet deal. “Immersive experiences are the future of retail, and Sweep will revolutionise how people shop and be a catalyst to drive incremental sales in-store,” said Foyster.

With Sweep as a finalist for Australia’s Best Shopping Innovation at the Finder Awards as this year, there appears to be significant growth potential. 

“Sweep has a community of shoppers. Users can like, comment and share within their community; it’s got the same sort of interface as Instagram. Users can see where people have spent their money as well as read reviews from others. For the retailers, it’s increasing sales and building loyalty using immersive media,” explained Foyster. “At this stage, the app has been launched in Australia, and the plan is to go global.” 

The team with Foyster on Sweep is Subin Park as Co-Creator and UX and Design Lead, and Philip Ip as Co-Creator and Solutions Architect and data expert Dr Jovan Barac.

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