Longtime Googler Nitin Mangtani (manager for a number of products including Google Shopping) has founded a startup of his own, PredictSpring, where he’s working to help brands and retailers get up-to-speed with mobile commerce.
To illustrate why PredictSpring is necessary, Mangtani pointed to numbers from comScore showing that while 60 percent of retail browsing happens on mobile devices, those devices only account for 15 percent of dollars spent.
“The experiences on mobile haven’t caught up with the consumer demand,” he said. “The consumer is ready to do commerce on mobile.”
To create those experiences, PredictSpring has created a mobile app development platform that allows businesses to create shopping-enabled apps without writing any code. Businesses using the platform include Cole Haan, Eddie Bauer, Bluefly and Woodcraft — even though Mangtani is only talking publicly about PredictSpring now, the first apps actually went live at the end of last year.
PredictSpring has also raised $2 million in funding from investors including fashion tycoon Silas Chou’s Novel TMT Group and Beanstalk Ventures.
Looking at the mobile commerce landscape, Mangtani said there have been a few great hits, like Uber, HotelTonight and Airbnb, but most shopping apps are just “a very thin layer of native code — the moment you click away from the homescreen, you’re redirected to the mobile site.”
On the other hand, apps created on the PredictSpring platform are supposed to be “100 percent native.” That’s important, Mangtani said, because the big innovations in mobile have been on the app side, rather than on the mobile web. Sure, not every Cole Haan customer is going to download the Cole Haan app, but he argued that the most loyal ones and the biggest spenders will. So it’s important to give them a good experience, where it’s easy to actually buy things.Still, PredictSpring’s strategy isn’t just about apps. The company is also launching a new Commerce Gateway, which should make it easier for companies to add shopping capabilities and “Buy buttons” to their online ads and social media posts — for example, Cole Haan isn’t just using PredictSpring to build its mobile apps, but also to support shopping directly from its Instagram feed.
The Commerce Gateway is supposed to provide companies with a single API where they can integrate things like their e-commerce platform, inventory system, payment provider, product catalog and loyalty program.