Spring, an eight-month-old shopping app that partners with hundreds of brands, has raised a $US25 million Series B round to become the first big mobile shopping mall. It’s also launching on Android today.
Investors include Spring co-founder David Tisch’s seed fund, BoxGroup, as well as Yuri Milner, Groupe Arnault, Google Ventures, and Thrive Capital. The company has raised more than $US30 million total.
Launched last August by Tisch, his brother Alan, Ara Katz, and former Googler Octavian Costache, Spring currently works with 750 brands, like Michael Kors, to put their entire catalogues in one buying-friendly, visual heavy app.
Browsing the app feels like Pinterest or Instagram, with lifestyle photos rather than product shots. But on Spring, every item can be immediately purchased with a single swipe (credit card information is stored and saved so you only have to enter it once. Spring is also integrated with Apple Pay).
Spring acts like Seamless or Grubhub as a referral-only engine, taking orders and then sending the requests to the companies who handle inventory, shipping, returns, and exchanges just as they would if you were to buy from the site directly. It also handles customer service for each order and takes a small cut of every transaction; Spring has 47 employees, up from 22 last August.
Tisch declined to say how many orders the app has generated, but he said Spring’s repeat customer rate — how many first-time customers return to make additional purchases — is roughly 2.5 times the typical rate for other e-commerce platforms.
Spring’s goal is to create the next big, exciting consumer app in New York and it thinks it can be a mobile mall, saving people from having to download a bunch of different retailers’ apps and eat up precious homescreen real estate.
The concept of a cyber mall is nothing new, and it never really caught on online. You could argue Amazon is one, but people still often type in their favourite retailers’ urls, or they stumble across a product on social media. Tisch acknowledges this but feels the mobile environment is different enough to make a one-stop shopping app work.
“There were a lot of cyber malls attempts early on,” Tisch says. “The difference is a website and a mobile experience are so different…The check-out experience is different. On mobile it’s a daunting experience. On the web you can click and fill out a form page easily enough.”
He says some e-commerce brands, like Net a Porter, have successfully aggregated multiple brands under one shopping experience. There’s an opportunity to do that on mobile devices as well.
“This is the place where you can go to go shopping on your phone,” says Tisch. “If you look offline, those places in New York City are 5th avenue and Soho. We have a huge vision that’s potentially transformative.”
Here’s what the app looks like. Browsing looks sort of like Instagram and Pinterest:
Spring remembers your sizes and settings and stores your credit card information so you can swipe from left to right to pay.