Everyone knows the process from Spotify: A song is playing, you like it, you mark it with a heart and the music selection improves significantly. Every new playlist that Spotify puts together for its users gets better and better at matching their taste. And if you really like a list, you can share it with friends. This principle is as simple as it is successful – so why not use it when shopping for clothes? Julie Bornstein, founder of the free fashion app THE YES, asked herself this very question. The idea was on her mind for a long time, and finally the technology was advanced enough to put this idea into action. In May 2020, she launched THE YES, an app-only commerce solution powered by commercetools.
With this app, machine learning and fashion expertise are expertly combined. Anyone who logs into the app for the first time is guided through a question-and-answer section through which the app “learns” which pieces or brands they like and which they don’t. The questions cover everything from favorite designers to preferred patterns, silhouettes and colors. Sizing has also been vastly improved; through discussions with the stylists and the labels available on the app, the team created a mapping system for clothing sizes, so that only the size that actually fits the user is suggested, not the one that is on the label.
Those who eagerly shop with THE YES end up creating their dream boutique, in which only products that appeal to – and fit – them are displayed. The overwhelming oversupply in online shopping is thus reduced piece by piece and tailored to personal taste.
Right technology, right time
The pandemic caught many retailers off guard. Overnight, they had to sell their collections completely online, but their outdated eCommerce platforms could not withstand the sudden traffic peaks. This was the perfect time to launch THE YES! Thanks to the headless technology from commercetools, the entire product catalogues of the featured brands could be seamlessly integrated into the app and sold to – in some cases completely new – target groups.
The flexibility and scalability of the backend was the ideal prerequisite for a marketplace concept in which a large selection of different brands could be integrated. The customer’s entire shopping experience – including shopping cart, orders and returns – is handled via commercetools in the backend. The fulfilment, the compilation of the articles and the dispatch are carried out directly and easily via the labels themselves.
Personalization is our daily bread. It was, therefore, important to us that we can create and manage our own catalogue internally, as well as our search function. We needed an eCommerce platform that supports complex checkout and fulfilment processes without having to save our catalogue within the eCommerce platform.
Head of Brand Marketing and PR, THE YES
Equipped with the right technology, the disaster of the COVID-19 pandemic became an opportunity for THE YES – as well as for the retailers on the app, who were able to tap into new customers and sales. In 2021, Julie Bornstein and her team can look back on a successful first year: 40 percent of users continue to shop via the app after their first purchase.
Great variety, amazing selection
Creative Director Taylor Tomasi Hill carefully selected 250 brands for the app – from small private labels to big players. Smaller brands can sell directly to end customers via the virtual shop window model from THE YES – a great advantage, as higher margins are possible than via retailers as labels pay a lower commission for each item sold via the app.
Another cool feature: If you discover your new favourite brand while using THE YES, you can share it directly with your friends. This function was added due to the pandemic – for all those who missed going shopping with their friends. In these pandemic times, you can still share the outfits you like and get your best friend’s reaction, all while safely following social distancing measures.
Check out our page on how we empower businesses in the fashion industry.