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04.06.17

04.13.17

A $6.5 Million Mental Pause: Looking Back at How Far We’ve Come

02.16.17

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Startup of the Year Finalist

Music Discovery: A Human Touch

04.13.2017 

Posted by Brett Goodwin, VP Platform Strategy & Products

Startup of the Year Finalist

We are excited to have been selected as a Geekwire Awards finalist in the Startup of the Year category. See the announcement below and a link to vote!


ReplyYes Selected as “Startup of the Year” Finalist in the 2017 GeekWire Awards 


SEATTLE, Wash. – ReplyYes, the leader in e-commerce over mobile messaging, today announced its selection as a GeekWire Awards finalist in the Startup of the Year category. The company was chosen for its innovation in retail technology; specifically, for its success with The Edit, a service that learns users’ personal music preferences, sending vinyl fans daily recommendations and allowing subscribers to instantly purchase records via text message.


A spinout of Madrona Venture Labs, ReplyYes enables brands to sell products via text message and reach consumers simply and effectively. This recognition from GeekWire closely follows ReplyYes’ recent $6.5 million Series A funding and customer win with Universal Music Group. As part of their scaling and expansion efforts, the company also recently named Trevor Inman as CTO, Brett Goodwin as VP of Platform Strategy and Products, and Marie Sheel as VP of Operations.


To qualify for Startup of the Year, companies must be based in the Pacific Northwest and be at most four years old. Local startups were submitted to the GeekWire Awards based off of community nominations from GeekWire readers. The list was narrowed to a group of five finalists selected by GeekWire’s panel of judges, and winners are selected through voting on GeekWire.com. Winners will be revealed at the GeekWire Awards on May 4, 2017. 


ReplyYes is among the rising newcomers that exemplify the best in business and innovation. By combining artificial intelligence and mobile messaging, ReplyYes’ The Edit has sold more than 100,000 vinyl records via mobile texts. The ReplyYes platform is transforming how artists, brands and retailers can personalize engagement and transact directly with their customers over mobile messaging.


Voting is now open for the Startup of the Year category 2017 GeekWire Awards: http://www.geekwire.com/2017/geekwire-awards-vote-seattles-promising-startup-year/ 


For more information on ReplyYes or The Edit, visit our home page. 


About ReplyYes 

ReplyYes’ mission is to help people effortlessly discover and purchase items they love using their mobile phones. ReplyYes is the first platform to offer frictionless e-commerce over mobile messaging for brands looking to engage and transact directly with their customers. Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), human-assisted AI, and integrated payments, the ReplyYes platform learns from customer feedback to make the experience serendipitous to each person and brand. Message recipients simply reply “Yes” to instantly buy from their mobile phones. 


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Press Contact 

Holly Franklin Barokas Public Relations for ReplyYes 

replyyes@barokas.com 

425-894-2909

04.06.2017 

Posted by  Ryan Artmann, Customer Engagement Lead

Music Discovery: A Human Touch

The experience of discovering new music using algorithms created by streaming services and e-commerce sites can be helpful, but after a while they become seriously boring, and majorly repetitive. Sure, Miguel and Chance The Rapper are good recommendations for someone who likes Frank Ocean, but most music fans are looking for something deeper… something personal. They are looking for discovery. 


One of the best places to truly discover new music is at a record store. The rhetoric between a store clerk and consumer is one that outdates these algorithms by many decades. But what’s so special about a face-to-face conversation? The discovery is flexible. It’s a two-way street. The store clerk is constantly helping customers by recommending music and completing sales, while the customer is shining a light on music the clerk may not have known previously. There are conversations. This process repeats and repeats. The store clerk becomes more versed in a myriad of music, and can now draw the line between various genres and make real, uninhibited recommendations. The customer leaves feeling special, like they just stumbled upon a little piece of treasure. 


That human touch is something The Edit holds near and dear. Our unique hybrid, human-assisted AI platform brings together the best of machine learning algorithms and expert based recommendations to emulate a shopping experience unlike anything else. 


Want to travel backwards through the linage of Lou Reed all the way into the Velvet Underground, or forward into the shadow of influence cast by David Bowie? Need to tell someone about that time your band opened for The Replacements, or when your parents gifted you all their Nina Simone albums? We’re here for you, and we love hearing your stories. We love connecting the dots between obscure Chicago gospel and mainstream hip hop. We love showing you that sample you love so much, in its original form. We hope you learn about something new and exciting everyday, because we’re always learning too. 

A $6.5 Million Mental Pause: Looking Back at How Far We’ve Come 

Since the early days of ReplyYes, we knew we were onto something with the concept of message-based commerce. But what we didn't know, was how much consumers and brands would latch onto it. 


Fast-forward to today, we’re announcing $6.5 million in Series A funding and have made a big time dent in validating the market for e-commerce over mobile messaging. While we’re just at the beginning of our journey, we know we’re onto something that’s going to fundamentally transform e-commerce. 

02.16.2017 

Posted by Dave Cotter, CEO

The idea for ReplyYes stemmed from the need to create frictionless commerce. In 2015 when we were building the platform in Madrona Venture Labs, e-commerce sales worldwide were on the up and up, while similarly, mobile and messaging app usage was eclipsing desktop for the first time. Artificial intelligence and chat bots soon started to gain traction. And through it all we kept with a very simple goal: help people easily discover and purchase things they love.


This created the premise behind our first store, The Edit, a text-based service that sends vinyl fans daily recommendations based on their musical preferences and allows them to instantly purchase and ship the record by simply replying ‘Yes.’ 


Why Vinyl records? We knew if messaging was our primary vehicles for engaging, the offer needed to have visual elements that can say 1,000 words. Music lovers everywhere appreciate the album art of vinyl record covers and it only takes a few words to elicit a ‘Like’, ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Buy’, response. We also liked Vinyl because the vast catalog of albums was perfect for our recommendation engine to delight and surprise our users.


Shortly after launching The Edit, we spun out of Madrona Venture labs and secured $2.5 million in seed funding, which we used to further build out the platform. A short time after, we reached a company milestone – the Edit sold $1 million worth of vinyl records. Demand for this type of e-commerce was exceeding our expectations, spurring a flurry of new content ideas and offerings we wanted to explore. We launched Origin Bound, a comic book store, in May 2016 and began the process of configuring our platform to be white-labeled by other consumer-facing brands. 


With this broader strategy, we were able to land Universal Music Group (UMG) as the first customer to white-label our platform. Using ReplyYes, UMG will enable its artists and labels to send personalized messages to fans with offers for merchandise, tickets, and albums/songs. What attracted UMG to our platform was the ability to maintain control over customer data, engagement sentiment and purchasing signals that are derived out of the messaging platform. 


With this $6.5 million in Series A funding, we’ll be expanding our platform functionality to suit brand engagement and frictionless e-commerce needs across media, lifestyle brands, app and game discovery, events and tickets, wine and other consumables. Based on our rapid growth and demand for our platform, we expect e-commerce over mobile messaging to take off this year. Buckle up! 


- Dave

01.31.2017 

Posted by Chris Jordan, Ph.D, Lead Data Scientist

Human-Assisted AI in E-Commerce over Mobile Messaging

ReplyYes is an e-commerce over mobile messaging platform for brands that want to engage and transact directly with their customers. ReplyYes sends personalized product and content recommendations. Our platform learns from customer feedback to make the experience unique to each person and brand. It has been architected to support endless numbers of stores, all utilizing lightweight artificial intelligent (AI), product recommendation algorithms, inventory and fulfilment management systems, and payment processing. As a strategy, we launched our own stores in categories where our AI and recommendation algorithm learnings can be leveraged into platform partner opportunities.


We started with a constrained AI and user education around the specific commands that can be interpreted by it. In the event that a phrase cannot be understood by the AI, we pass the customer message and information to a human who will both respond to the customer and train the AI on new keywords and phrases used by the customer; this input into the AI helps improve its ability to automatically respond to customer requests over time.


To that end, we view AI as a means to emulate and scale human interaction. Traditional brick and mortar stores restrict even the best humans to handling a single customer at a time. A huge advantage that the ReplyYes platform offers is the idea of empowering humans to talk to many more customers at once utilizing AI. In other words, we want our AI to be able to converse with customers over messaging as if they were talking with humans.


Content generation is a difficult process and prone to errors that can ultimately lead to a poor user experience. To improve our likelihood of success, we believe that a necessary first step towards an AI supported conversation are tools that suggest content that can be updated and approved by humans. The automatic generation of a first draft that is then checked and updated by a customer support agent or sales rep can improve their efficiency by an order of magnitude by enabling them to handle more customers at the same time  while minimal context switching. Thus, in a way, we are scaling people using AI. 


Humans are essential to the ReplyYes platform experience. They create an atmosphere that is enjoyable to customers. As such, our intention is not to remove them from the store but to empower them to talk to more and more people while not decreasing their quality of service. It is our view that there will always be humans involved in our platform customer stores as it is not reasonable to have the AI handle every single type of conversation; the focus of our AI will be on the most frequent of these types. Like the recommendation algorithm, improvements and gains made to it are not coupled to specific product types. Any store powered by ReplyYes should be able to leverage advances that we make with the AI.


01.3.2017 

Posted by Brett Goodwin, Platform Strategy

How ReplyYes Works

Check out how The Edit, our vinyl record store running on the ReplyYes platform, works. Thanks to our friends over at Tatango for creating this great visual piece!

https://www.tatango.com/blog/how-reply-yes-text-messaging-campaigns-work/

10.19.2016 

Posted by Dave Cotter, CEO

ReplyYes’ The Edit debuts on FB Messenger, Open sources Java Client for FB Messenger API

4.14.2016 

Posted by Dave Cotter, CEO

$1M in vinyl albums sold in eight months via text, and it’s just the beginning

ReplyYes

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