On Wednesday, Julie Bornstein, former COO of Stitch Fix, announced the launch of The Yes app, an artificial intelligence e-commerce app.
The app has consumers take a style quiz and give items a yes or a no. The app's algorithm then analyzes the data to curate a feed of styles and brand preferences for each individual, the company said in an email to Retail Dive. The platform features a mix of brands, "everything from Gucci to Everlane," one-tap purchasing, price matching, the full online collection for each brand, free shipping and free returns.
The app launch was delayed by two months to understand changes to consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic and how the platform could help brands. The delay enabled the platform to add 20 more brands and two new features prior to launch, according to the announcement.
The overall retail sector has seen a decline during the coronavirus pandemic. It's no secret that the outbreak has been especially difficult for apparel brands. In April, total retail sales dropped by 16%, but clothing and accessories sank by 89% and furniture and home goods sales declined by 67%.
The app launch comes after Bornstein, who now serves as The Yes app's CEO and co-founder, reportedly raised $30 million to build the platform. As retailers close their doors and file for bankruptcy, the company noted in its email that it aims to change e-commerce, which has been "stagnant for years."
"The Yes offers brands an opportunity to diversify their distribution and ensure a stronger omnichannel strategy to protect them from vulnerabilities that lay within the traditional wholesale/retail model," the company said in its email to Retail Dive.
Some of the features are notably reminiscent of Stitch Fix, which has its own Style Shuffle feature to get to know shopper preferences better. But The Yes is not alone in investing in AI tools to try and improve the shopper experience.
Before the coronavirus crisis upended retail, brands and retailers began tapping into AI tools for various purposes. Beauty brands and stores like Sally Beauty and Aveda harnessed AI technology for product try-ons, and H&M has used AI to make its supply chain more environmentally sustainable. Back in January, Lily AI, a personalized product recommendation startup, raised $12.5 million in Series A funding.