PredictSpring will unveil a new approach to commerce today.
The two-year-old company, which launched its mobile technology platform last year, already works with 25 brands such as Cole Haan, Eddie Bauer and Bluefly Inc. on delivering their native app experiences. But now, there’s a feature that makes social media feeds shoppable – within one’s app and in real-time. Cole Haan, first to use PredictSpring’s technology to develop its native app, will also be the premiere brand to debut a shoppable Instagram feed.
“It’s Instagram meets Uber. Think about an experience that is engaging like Instagram with a seamless checkout like Uber. This experience is only possible through native apps,” said Nitin Mangtani, founder and chief executive officer of PredictSpring, who spent seven years at Google (and worked on Google Shopping) before leaving to start his own company. PredictSpring now has a team of 11 split between New York City and Los Altos, Calif.
He explained that for Cole Haan specifically, there is a designated Instagram section (or whatever social feed a brand wishes to sell from) within the native app, and once a user clicks on this button they are taken to a page that’s identical to an Instagram feed.
PredictSpring’s Commerce Gateway tool can instantly bring a client’s Instagram feed inside their app, and purchases can be made through credit card, digital wallets and Apple Pay. Clients pay PredictSpring a monthly fee, based on volume, or number of app downloads. The technology is not limited to Instagram; it’s an open set of application program interfaces, or APIs, that can be plugged into any social media or publishing platform.
“An engagement problem exists in the Web world but that doesn’t mean brands have shut down their sites,” he said of his reason for focusing on the app space, noting that app users are 15 times more engaged than mobile site users and apps see 300 to 500 percent higher conversion rates.
Some big name investors share Mangtani’s vision. Silas Chou’s Novel TMT Group and Beanstalk Ventures, led by Bluefly founder Ken Seiff, are both investors in PredictSpring’s seed round, but Mangtani declined to say how much was raised.
“As an industry, what’s happening is that we’re moving towards app indexing and deep linking. You can now index keywords within an app, and if you’re reading an e-mail from your phone you can directly link to the app,” Mangtani explained, adding that traditionally apps have been hard to discover. But thanks to app indexing and deep-links that allow apps to be opened directly from the Web or e-mail, this is about to change.
It’s because of this that Mangtani believes commerce is moving further and further away from the mobile Web. Retailers and brands will gravitate towards native apps because it elicits the most engagement from consumers. Currently, it takes six to eight seconds to load a page on a mobile Web site, he said, which is exponentially more than the “few hundred millisecond” response time of an app. He thinks that this, coupled with a more seamless checkout, will make apps a key spending area for brands and retailers who want to bolster their mobile transactions.
“On a typical day with a typical retailer, less than five out of 1,000 visitors to a retailer’s mobile site make a purchase,” Seiff said, noting that he invested in PredictSpring three separate times — first in March 2014, then in November of last year and again in May.