Dallas’ ModeSens Aims to Build Online Shops Tailored to Each User

Xconomy Texas — 

Dallas—Part of the challenge for e-commerce is finding ways to prevent shoppers from having buyer’s remorse.

“You never want to have a customer who has a disgruntled post-purchase feeling,” says Krystle Craycraft, chief marketing officer at ModeSens, an e-commerce startup in Dallas. “We’re giving the consumer confidence to eliminate the need for a return.”

Returns are the bane of e-commerce operations, costing billions in round-trip shipping costs and products that frequently cannot be resold at full price and must be written off to discounters. But returns are an inevitable byproduct of an online marketplace full of innumerable products available at your fingertips.

ModeSens is designed to be a shopper’s personal assistant, cutting through the endless choices online and connecting her to the products she wants. A customer who just Googles for information about a product might find a confusing mess to wade through. Instead, Craycraft says, “We aggregate the information online.”

“We are changing the way people are shopping right now,” Craycraft says.

In particular, ModeSens caters to the luxury market with a marketplace of more than 12,000 items sold by 160 brands and stores. A shopper might spot a pair of Gucci Horsebit leather loafers on the site of a high-end retailer. But what if they want a different color or size than what’s listed? And is that price truly the best that can be found?

Shoppers create an account with ModeSens and then choose a product from the site. The startup lists the various retailers that are selling it, and gives you a price range. I searched for those loafers and found them listed at more than a dozen stores, including retailers like Neiman Marcus and Barney’s and sites like Net-a-Porter and Farfetch. The shoes are selling for $730 at each seller’s site, except for Italist.com, which has selected sizes available for $610.

For retailers, which pay ModeSens a commission for each sale, this sort of platform helps them connect to the shoppers who are looking for their products. The retailers and brands that are the startup’s customers include Saks Fifth Avenue and Christian Louboutin. The startup’s founders have so far bootstrapped operations, Craycraft says.

Craycraft, who had been director of marketing at retailer Bergdorf Goodman in Dallas, joined ModeSens last year shortly after the startup moved to Dallas from Seattle, where it was founded by Brian Li and Jing Leng in 2015.

Like many other e-commerce businesses, ModeSens wants to create a community of like-minded shoppers who can interact and share tips with each other. To that end, ModeSens encourages users to create a pinboard, similar to what’s found on Pinterest, to save products if they can’t find what they’re looking for—or if the price or size doesn’t suit them.

“We’ll let them know when this product comes back in stock, or in the right size, or hits 30 percent off,” Craycraft says. “The search also generates reviews from other shoppers.”