69: Alan Tisch Co-Founder and CEO of Shopping Startup Spring
Today is Amazon Prime Day 2016. This is what many are calling the year of conversational commerce. This is the rise of the chat box. You can go on Facebook messenger drop in a few questions and be given the exact item you want. There’s a company right at the heart of this called Spring.
The Spring app itself contains all of your favorite brands so you no longer need 10-15 apps. You can open that one application and shop wherever you want and order items from your favorite store. Once you add into the mix chat box technology it’s clear that Spring is on to something incredibly big.
The last two years their sales have been increasing 20 percent month over month. As soon as you learn they have over 1,000 different brand partners it’s easy to see why they are making so many waves in this space. So I invited the co-founder and CEO Alan Tisch on to the show to tell us a little more about Spring, mobile commerce and the future of this technology.
Can you tell the listeners a little about yourself and your role at Spring?
I’m Alan; I’m the CEO and one of the founders of Spring. We started Spring almost four years ago but launched to customers in August it will be two years. At Spring there are about 85 of us total and we’re really focused on building the online shopper. Essentially on your phone, you can shop all of your favorite brands in a single destination.
What is Spring and how is it different from other solutions?
There are so many different modes under which people shop. Sometimes you get a targeted shopper who knows exactly what they want like a specific pair of pants and sometimes you get people who are looking for something like a dress for a wedding. Other times people are just bored.
At Spring we’ve decided there are two experiences we want to be great at. One of them is around discoverability. We work with about 1,250 brands that have over 250,000 products which means we really want to help guide our customers on that journey to find that perfect item for them. The second one is really that high intent or replenishment business and that’s really born out of convenience. We work with some of the biggest and best brands in the world.
Can you tell me a little about how Spring has evolved and how you are capitalizing on the growing trend in mobile commerce?
When we first started we were probably the purest form of a marketplace. We had 167 brands on the platform on launch day in August 2014 and we had just over 2,000 products and each one of the brands had different customer service numbers and different shipping and prices and return policies. The biggest change has been we basically standardized free shipping for returns platform wide when we started doing all customer service. We went from having a very small selection of products in each one of our brands to featuring a full catalog. We learned from our customers that they wanted access to the largest catalog of products humanly possible.
If someone listening wanted to give the Spring bot a try on Facebook how would they do it?
You can go on our Spring page on Facebook and open up a thread with us or write to us inside of messenger. It’s definitely a new experience and we’re excited about it. Our belief is that apps will definitely hold a place in the future. For full-fledged really robust experiences apps will play a future for sure. We think of Spring the app as the online shopping mall and Spring the bot is really an online shopping assistant.
What do you think is the secret of retention and engagement in this space?
Many customers have 50-100 apps on their phone but the data shows most users are only using 5-7 apps every day. I think what that means is if you want to become one of those apps that ends up on a users home screen that they come back to again and again, you really have to be solving a problem for them. And the size of that problem needs to be increasing.
Didn’t Spring heavily feature in the Kim Kardashian Hollywood game? Was that a success? What were your aims and expectations of that particular deal?
We did a partnership with Glu, the developer of the Kim Kardashian Hollywood Game. It was exciting because I think it was the first of its kind. It was a fun experiment for us to work on.
Apologizes in advance if you aren’t allowed to talk about this but I heard you are in talks with Apple. Is there anything you can share with us on that front?
We always try to talk about our development partners. Apple has been, before and after we launched, an incredible development partner. The IOS platform is amazing and being able to interact with some of the people behind it and work with them to understand how to utilize the platform better has been great.
What is next for Spring?
Right now we’re fully in the swing of the holiday season. Our focus is on continuing to build features for our customers that they really love and helping them discover more products.
What’s the best method to reach out to you and find out more information about Spring?
@Spring or @AlanTisch on Twitter is the easiest way.