A new artificial intelligence-powered app called The Yes is set to drastically change the way consumers shop by building a virtual store around the individual needs of each user.
Yesterday, after a year of teasing the launch of their new startup, e-commerce veteran Julie Bornstein and her technical co-founder, Amit Aggarwal, finally launched The Yes, an exciting new shopping platform they’ve been quietly building for 18 months that’s on a mission to save retail. ‘Since the pandemic began, we’ve felt more and more compelled to get out there to help our brands, all of whom are feeling the impact of the retail stores closing, or orders being cancelled by their retail partners. It’s an interesting time because we all need a bit of levity and escape, and The Yes is just that.’
Courtesy of its Silicon Valley-approved sophisticated algorithms, The Yes aims to streamline and personalise online shopping, creating tailor-made experiences for each individual user. Amidst the huge changes the fashion industry has undergone in recent weeks, from major brands and struggling small businesses filing for bankruptcy, to designers and top executives calling for an overhaul of the traditional seasonal structure, fashion’s future may be in flux, but Bornstein is betting on this new way for us to shop.
‘To be a shopper online these days you really have to be a pro,’ she says. ‘There are so many sites, so many brands, and it’s just completely overwhelming. It’s also a one-size-fits-all approach, and the truth is, every time you go to shop, even on sites you’re loyal to, you have to look through tons of crap that’s not relevant to you no matter how many times you’ve been there.’
With the primary goal of hyper-personalising every product choice to the user’s specific taste while also relieving decision fatigue, ‘no two people will ever have the same experience on The Yes,’ she says — it’s the ultimate definition of segmentation. ‘What we’re doing is providing an opportunity to stop scrolling and start shopping. This idea that when I want a black dress and you want a black dress and we both get served up the exact same results, if you actually think about it, it feels antiquated.’
In many ways, The Yes takes a page from the Netflix and Spotify playbook. By removing the hassle of having to sift through too many dizzying choices, it has a key competitive advantage. Combining the many options of the department store experience with the personalised attention of a local boutique, it offers the best of both worlds and is essentially like having a personal shopper over your shoulder who’s taking notes on what caught your eye and what you grimaced at.