Nate, A New Shopping App, Puts One Stop Check Out At Your Fingertips

Move over, elves. Santa has a new trick up his sleeve this Christmas. Nate, a new community-growth shopping app that uses AI to become, according to founders, the world’s first and only universal checkout method, is aimed at making shopping for loved ones this holiday season (or yourself, for that matter) as painless as possible,

The app, which became available to the public in mid-October, acts as a go-between that allows registered users to buy items for themselves in one click and gifts with three-click purchasing without going to the brands’ website. Nate founder and CEO Albert Saniger believes that “the future of check out is no checkout.”

According to a company spokesperson, the app’s business model is currently strictly community-based growth designed to make shopping ‘social, seamless, safe and fun’. It also promises to champion the small businesses left behind during the pandemic-induced online shopping conversion that saw behemoths like Amazon
AMZN
gobbling up even more consumer product spending dollars.

Nate has partnered with various tastemakers such as Elle Market Director Alexis Wolfe, influencer Andrew Warren, Sweats in the City, Dale Moss, and Caroline Vazzana to curate some holiday gift ideas available on the app. Not only can they tap into local merchants they love, but they can champion a favorite charity donation as a suggestion.

Sending a gift via Nate is as easy as sending a text; if the user hasn’t downloaded the app, they create an account to input the address where they want the gift sent. The app can also facilitate internet window shopping that allows the user to save their favorite items in one place. One user cited she kept track of wedding dress options and recipe ingredients while another made recommended book lists and items found at local vendors from Provincetown, MA., for example. Additionally, when the list is shared via text for example, it may influence another person to purchase an item.

Using the app is relatively intuitive. Once downloaded, the app asks for the users billing information and shipping address. Lists are created by dragging links into the apps ecosystem and theoretically can be goods, services, or charitable donations. When buying a gift, a text is sent to the recipient informing them that someone sent them a gift. If they use the app, it’s already on the way. If not, the recipient needs to download the app and input their mailing details.

Brands cannot pay to be on the platform. Saniger is clear on that point. “We don’t want the brands’ money because we aren’t trying to shove more cookies-driven products down users’ throats.”

This shopping app is unique because instead of using the AI to influence what you buy, it springs into action once you make that decision. Saniger, whose background was part computer-nerd and fashion retailer (formerly he worked for Amazon developing private label strategies in their fashion division), realized that he missed the human connection with online shopping. He became disillusioned with the way AI and cookies were controlling what he saw and what inspired him. “Machines created self-fulfilling prophecies by deciding for you what you should buy,” he feels, adding, “with Nate, we flipped that around with humans creating the lists to buy.”

Nate knows how to buy from any website by creating accounts, filling in customer profile forms, and choosing payment and shipping methods according to the user’s account profile. “Our app applies AI after the decision to purchase because our algorithms understand HTML codes and can complete the information needed for the transaction,” says the CEO. He adds, “it’s not the smartest in the world but intelligent enough to know how to buy things on the internet; consider it your AI assistant.”

Nate issues single-use virtual credit cards on behalf of the users to complete the sales transaction. It’s here where the app’s monetization occurs by getting a fraction of the transaction fees. The app is currently free for the user, at least for the foreseeable future.

“We are in the middle of a complex payment stack where the seller pays for processing,” explains Saniger adding, “the payments business industry is massive and layered.” With investments from Coatue Management (Uber
UBER
and Snapchat Investors) and Canaan Partners, the CEO is next beefing up his staff with a dedicated payments department. He says Nate is fundamentally an Intelligent Automation app and increasingly a consumer, social, and commerce app.

Thus far, the app has been free of any paid marketing efforts save for a very successful pre-launch campaign. For this initiative, Nate partnered with TikTok on a #MakeSomeoneSmile challenge that exceeded 3 billion views throughout the campaign, giving it the honor of being one of TikTok’s most successful brand campaigns yet. The song used for the challenge was a custom rendition of Smile by Nora Ven Elken, created in unpaid partnership with Chill Nation.

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