Back in 2013, Alan Tisch, the CEO of the shopping app Spring, thought he was a little late to the mobile party.
“Isn’t this a little late to be starting this? Hasn’t mobile blown up?” he asked his now business partners.
He was referring to mobile-commerce m-commerce as we now call it an experience that was virtually non-existent then. There were, of course, mobile versions of e-commerce platforms.
But nothing was quite like Spring, an app Tisch would launch in August of 2014, that was mobile-first in its approach.
Ironically, Tisch wasn’t late to the mobile party. He was a tad bit early.
“Though people are on their phones all the time, their purchasing habits are still on their desktops,” he says to Mashable.“In Asia, m-commerce is 100% there. But here, its not there yet. People are still like, ‘can I really spend $3,000 on my phone? Is it safe?'”
Three years later, Spring is still trying to change how Americans view shopping on their phones.
Not that the brand hasn’t been doing a good job at that.
When it first launched in 2014 with 125 brands, it was touted as the future, one that Vogue once said would “change the way you shop forever.”
It had “cool” currency with influencers like streetstyle influencer Nick Wooster to hot direct-to-consumer brands like Greats onboard.
A same-day delivery service initiative with Uber made it seem as if Spring was a nimble brand that would deliver you your order in under a few hours.A year later, Spring found venture capital cash flooding in, announcing it had raised $25 million from the likes of Google Ventures, Josh Kushner, and Ashton Kutcher, among others.
But lusting after the cool factor seems to have faded. Today, Tisch wants to focus on scaling and ensuring the user experience entices new customers.
The new app launch today comes with 1100 brands from the likes of DKNY, Toms, Cole Haan and Club Monaco, among others. They join brands like big box retailers from Urban Outfitters, to high-end designers like Tod’s, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Kenzo.
Tisch says the biggest goal for Spring for the future, is to make it the one shopping app that any consumer would ever need for shopping.
“When you ask people how many apps they use, they only use around 5-7 apps multiple times in a day,” he says. “When they think of shopping, there should be one app.”
The CEO says the experience and aesthetic will make it seem premium with its “pops of color” throughout.
He’s most excited, he says, about how the colors will change from season to season.
“It will feel like a refresh and every couple of months with its seasonal designs,” he says.
“It’s all about uniqueness,” he says when it comes to acquiring new customers in the heavily competitive commerce space. “It’s a crowded marketplace, but the way you win is being unique.”
Spring, he says, will work on exclusive collaborations with brands, feature brands not sold anywhere else, while doing so with “best in class mobile software.”
The refresh will also focus on editorial content that aspires to bring the brands’ stories directly to the consumer.
“It should be seasonal and timely,” Tisch says. “We don’t want top 10 list click-baity stories, rather, celebration of the designer and the products they made.”
The brand’s entire business model is one that is based off of “drop ship,” or a marketplace model. That is, Spring doesn’t hold any of its own inventory or do buys for seasons, rather, is the middle man between consumers and fashion companies who will ship out items themselves. Spring then will keep a percentage of all sales.
It’s an enticing model for small brands that don’t have the capacity to venture into m-commerce, while being an entirely new set of eyeballs for bigger companies who want younger consumers.
But even with this flashy new redesign,free shipping, free returns, a VIP service, along with direct customer service numbers, Tisch knows this isn’t enough to become profitable.
“Amazon hasnt been profitable in 20 years,” he says. “Theyre creating trust with their customers. We understand that in commerce, it’s a long game.”
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