Yaysay, an AI-powered shopping app, launched in beta today to gamify off-price shopping and bring the experience to mobile.
Created by Casper co-founder Philip Krim, Yaysay combines concepts from social media, video games, online ticketing platforms and dating apps. Each day, the app curates a set of items tailored to you and your favorite brands, which are displayed in a swipeable vertical feed. Brands on Yaysay include Acne, ALC, Chloe, Ganni, Isabel Marant, Jonathan Simkhai, Loeffler Randall, Loewe, Vince and more. New inventory is uploaded to the app daily.
If you swipe on something you like, you have 30 minutes to decide whether you want to buy it or not– similar to how Ticketmaster has a timer, so you know how long you have to complete your purchase before the ticket is removed from your cart. Overall, countdown timers are popular with e-commerce websites because it’s believed that creating a feeling of urgency and emphasizing a limited supply can boost conversions.
Yaysay says it will test different time durations. It also plans to explore varying durations for different items, the company told us.
Like Tinder or Hinge, you can’t undo a swipe, meaning the item is gone forever. Luckily, Yaysay gives you three swipebacks per day. When you’re finished browsing your daily selection, Yaysay also has a trending section that shows what other customers in your area are buying.
“Our AI selects a limited number of items per user per day, and our users have to buy the items before others do,” CEO Lindsay Ferstandig, former Stitch Fix exec, told TechCrunch. “Everything we buy has very limited quantities because of the deep discounts we secure.”
She added that one of the biggest problems in e-commerce is that shoppers see the same items across various websites. “We wanted to keep things fresh and fun and constantly drive the ‘discovery-based shopping’ that we hope to pioneer. This is not search-based shopping; this is all about stumbling onto a great find that you didn’t even know you needed.”
Off-price retail, meaning to sell designer clothing at discounted prices, is a thriving business– especially now with the rise in price-conscious consumers. TJX, which operates T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods, reported that net sales for the fiscal second quarter were $12.8 billion, up 8% year-over-year.
“I started working on Yaysay because I realized how massive the off-priced category was, how much fun it can be when shopping offline and how no one had cracked the code on how to bring it online,” said Krim. “T.J. Maxx is one of the largest, most successful retailers in our country and I have been so impressed with how they have grown their business. Using AI and other technologies developed over the last few years, it is now finally possible to recreate that unique treasure hunt experience online for the first time.”
Yaysay is only available on iOS devices. The company plans to eventually launch an Android version.
The company has raised a total of $10.3 million across two funding rounds, with the first one being a $2.3 million pre-seed that had investors such as A* Capital, Afore Capital, Montauk Ventures, Raven One Ventures, Red Antler, and Shrug Capital, among others. Yaysay also raised $8 million in a seed round led by Lightspeed Ventures, with additional participation from most of the pre-seed investors.