The Spring App: Did the Fashion World just get Uber-ized?


Instead of hitting New York's Soho after a crazy day at work, I switch Spring Street for the new Spring app. I simply sit down on the subway and swipe, filling a digital shopping bag with clothes. It's a calmer, more efficient hit of retail therapy.

With Spring, I can follow the brands I love (so far, a selection of 150 independent designers and major labels) in the same way I follow things I love by scrolling through my Instagram feed. I can share gems from the thousands of Pinterest-worthy fashion photos with my followers and select what I like with a tap and swipe, just like I do with my dating prospects on Tinder. When I get paid at the end of the month - or when I simply need a quick fix - I can check out the must-have items on my wishlist with the same swift and slick efficiency as ordering an Uber after a night out.

A clean, clear and optimized user experience has become the norm to which we accustom our everyday activities. And with Spring, it seems fashion just got 'Uberized'. What Uber is to the taxi, Spring is to that new must-have accessory: it makes it yours, instantly and with graceful ease. It's your on-the-go and on-demand personal shopper, telling you via push notification when your favorite items go on sale or are running low. But can we foresee Spring taking over fashion in the same way Uber has taken over the ridesharing industry?

M-Commerce Made Simpler

Mobile commerce apps are the new ecommerce websites, which were once the new bricks-and-mortar malls. Things in the mobile arena have officially exploded: m-commerce is currently experiencing a 48 percent year-on-year growth and reached approximately $8 billion in the second quarter of 2014 in the US alone. In December of last year, 27 percent of all online sales transactions were made on mobile, with fashion serving as the most popular online shopping category in most of Europe.

Gone are the days of shop 'til you drop. These days, it's more shop on the hop.

Millennials are largely fashion-focused, highly visual and forward-thinking mobile users. This is exactly what makes Techstars managing director David Tisch's new venture Spring, in all of its minimalistic beauty, so relevant to the smartphone generation.

"We're not a lifestyle app, we're a mobile marketplace of brands to consumers, a direct channel," Tisch recently told Forbes. With the Spring app, which is currently only available in the US App Store and set to launch internationally soon, his goal is to create the same kind of streamlined process that emulates the real-life shopping experience with mobile as the first screen.

Smart Shopping For Everyone

Vogue has said the app will change the way you shop forever. TechCrunch has tagged it as the most advanced effort at fashion-focused mobile shopping yet. Forbes notes that the app might reduce fashion discovery platforms like Wanelos and Nuji to fluff. But beside drumming up this buzz, what will it really take for Spring to compete with the likes of ASOS, Net-a-Porter and Lyst? Will it perhaps need to wage a war, much like Uber has against ridesharing competitor Lyft and even the global traditional taxi industry?

Perhaps Spring's business model will be enough to set it apart. Spring are going after designers and labels from the grandiose to the independent, providing wide variation for the user, effortless exposure for independent labels and extra revenue injections for established brands. Tisch is also aiming for the app to be a place where brands push new products and exclusives rather than clearance items, which will be elevated by customizable features and a discovery platform for curated collections. What remains to be seen is whether Tisch and his team can achieve a large market share and victory over its competitors. As it stands, Spring focuses on being quick and easy to use, offering brands extra engagement and sales. Less aggressive, more smart.

Swipe Left to Reject; Swipe Right to Buy

Tisch's app taps into the habit for consumers to adopt mobile browsing and shopping as something to do during their downtime. It may well represent the next wave of shopping on the go, allowing you to swipe left to skip an item and swipe right to buy. It's chic and effortless, just as you'd expect a fashion app to be.

"Have you heard about Spring?" I recently overheard a man saying to his friend over lunch in the lobby of an Ace hotel. "It plays on the whole impulse shopping thing. I'm really curious to see how it's going to impact that." The man has a point. Spring is insta-shopping which seems ideal for a generation of quick-consumption mobile users.

Personally, I know I'd rather ditch the sweaty changing rooms, bustling streets and endless queues. I'd rather aggregate my shopping sprees along with my morning commute and try out my clothes in the comfort of my own home. Quick, where's my phone?

Hayley Pearce is a freelance writer and content marketer based in Berlin. She works for startups in the mobile ad tech and cloud computing space, as well as contributing to magazines and blogs on culture and the arts. You can follow her on Twitter @frauhayley