We’ve all been there when shopping online. Ten tabs open, all to your favorite stores, comparing prices, brands, size, fit, make. Delving 12 pages deep to find the one pair of jeans you think might be good for you, and getting overwhelmed in the process, with no good recommendations for what piece of clothing would look good on you.
Julie Bornstein, founder and CEO of THE YES, sought to solve that problem. At the CommerceNext IRL conference last month, Bornstein shared why she launched the shopping app last year and how she plans to grow it.
On Launching THE YES During a Pandemic
Bornstein said there were pros and cons to launching THE YES in March 2020, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
People were told to quarantine, physical stores closed, and people gravitated toward online shopping — a natural plus for Bornstein and THE YES. Meanwhile, Bornstein watched as retailers sped up their innovation and updated their websites to compete in a digital-first environment.
On the other hand, disposable income wasn’t being spent, and no one was really shopping for fashion.
“In the end, it kind of gave us a feeling of our first year being a beta,” said Bornstein.
On Differentiating THE YES From Stitch Fix
Bornstein came from Stitch Fix, the subscription-based online retailer that uses stylists to handpick and send items customers will like based on a questionnaire.
“Because style is so hard to really understand at an individual level, it tends to work really well for people who aren’t quite as particular about what they want and are less brand sensitive,” Bornstein said of Stitch Fix.
While her idea is similar — curated pieces of clothing based on an individual shopper’s style — Bornstein wanted to address the fashionistas out there and make THE YES app adaptable to each user. THE YES requires more involvement from the customer, but also gives the company and the brands it sells more customer data so they can tailor their suggestions accordingly.
On Launching THE YES on Mobile First
Many retailers wait to launch an app until they’ve got their physical and e-commerce platforms squared away. But Bornstein said she wanted THE YES to “feel native.” And she noticed a lot of multi-brand competitors didn’t have what felt like an authentic app.
“So much of our interaction is around this yes or no idea, which lends itself so well to the phone experience,” noted Bornstein.
On What’s Next for THE YES
The YES works with 250 brands, and Bornstein hopes that number will grow. THE YES currently only offers women’s clothing in the U.S., however, Bornstein has plans to grow the company internationally and add men’s clothing, and perhaps more categories of fashion.
Furthermore, Bornstein is focused on building out theyes.com browser experience (desktop and mobile) so that it’s as seamless as the app experience.