A new startup launched out of Indianapolis-based venture studio High Alpha aims to serve as a digital concierge service for e-commerce brands. Humankind, co-founded by former Target executive David Weissman, allows retailers to connect with online shoppers via SMS. Weissman, who also serves as chief executive officer, says consumers want more human interaction in their retail experiences, even online, which led to the creation of the “h-commerce” platform.
In an interview on Inside INdiana Business, Weissman said the idea stems from his former direct-to-consumer business, where he focused on customer experience.
“Ultimately, I realized this would be a really amazing software platform to offer to other brands and retailers and so that’s how we ended up with Humankind,” said Weissman. “What’s exciting about Humankind is there hasn’t been a modern sales channel in retail I think since e-commerce. So, we bring this whole new sales channel and we do it digitally, so obviously it comes with great scale to a macro-vertical that hasn’t had much change in so many years. The opportunity for this to be quite impactful is right in front of us.”
Weissman says Humankind creates a one-to-one virtual shopping experience between an expert working for a brand and the consumer.
The user can submit information to a participating brand’s website regarding what they’re looking for, which is sent to the expert, who will then begin a short text consultation to gather more information and create a custom landing page with recommendations. The consumer can then take those items and add them to the cart of the brand’s normal e-commerce site and check out like they normally would.
“For most e-commerce journeys, the purchase is kind of the end,” said Weissman. “The way we’ve built the Humankind platform and its capabilities and the customer experience, we don’t look at that as the end. We look at that as the beginning of this amazing one-to-one relationship that can continue post-purchase and, in retail, that’s how we make our money; most of our money is on repeat purchases and [lifetime value] and that’s fairly unprecedented in any paradigm, whether its offline shopping or online shopping, is the ability to really build real relationships and stretch them for a long time.”
Humankind is launching with 10 employees and several major brands already counted among its clients, including TaylorMade, Saucony, and Olaplex. Weissman says the startup has a number of future brand prospects as well.
“Every e-commerce brand is looking for high-impact solutions to elevate their customer experience,” High Alpha Partner Kristian Andersen said in a news release. “Humankind is the first platform that truly puts the customer front and center and provides the level of personalization and attention that today’s shoppers are increasingly demanding.”
Humankind is the fourth new company to launch out of High Alpha this year.
Weissman says the idea stems from his former direct-to-consumer business where he focused on customer experience.