Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him a Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected].
David Tisch, the co-founder of TechStars NYC, today launched his new startup, Spring, an iOS-based ecommerce platform that has the support of several high-end brands.
Shopping on the Spring app (US-only for now) feels like scrolling through Instagram if you only followed fashion brands, or Pinterest without all the amateur crafts.
Product photos are meant to be edgy lifestyle images instead of your usual shots on a white background. At launch, Spring has over 100 brands on-board, including Warby Parker, Band of Outsiders and Hugo Boss.
“The only brands we’re letting onto the platform is brands that care about the customer, brands that have a soul,” Tisch said.
While the app contains a number of social media conventions, such as hearting products that you like, it’s not actually a social experience. Instead, it’s meant to be a one-to-one connection between you and the brands that you follow. Buying a product takes just a couple of swipes, and products ship directly from the retailers.
Spring’s goal is to give brands direct access to their shoppers. According to Tisch, the current ecommerce field either requires brands to build their own apps or it forces them to place control in the hands of third-party retailers. Of course, Spring is also a third-party, but it does its best to get out of the way. Since it never touches the products, it’s more of a matchmaker than a middleman.
My first impression of Spring is that it’s dangerous. Tisch tells me I’m not alone, as it’s a common response from testers. The app makes it all too easy to spend money. If you have self control, this dangerous can be a good thing, as it means that you’re finding products that you’re excited about. But, if you have a shopping addiction, Spring could cause all sorts of trouble for you. Consider yourself warned.
Spring is doing for the online shopping experience what the native movement is doing for advertising. It’s content, storytelling and imaging as commerce.
Spring will naturally take a cut of sales on its platform, but Tisch claims that the startup will be “the most competitive way” for retailers to sell to customers outside of their own channels. Brands that offer free shipping or exclusive products on Spring can have their fees reduced further.
Brands won’t be the only ones with voices on Spring’s platform. The startup will include curated collections from influencers and publications. The app also organizes products based on algorithmic trends, so you could filter for items that are popular in LA.
Spring has raised a $7.5 million Series A round that includes backing from well-known luxury brands, including LVMH. The team currently has 30 members, including 12 engineers and three full-time designers.
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