We’re all sick of the e-commerce emails cluttering our inbox – to that end, we’d like you to meet Sift. Sift takes your boring emails from the fashion brands that you’ve signed up to receive email digests from, and redisplays these promotional emails in a fashionable and spruced up interface. A format that might make you actually want to buy something. The platform launched in November 2012, and has just acquired a seed investment round, along with scooping up John Deyto who will take the position of Director of Creative and User Experience, who has done branding work for Ralph Lauren, Pepsi, and Gilt Groupe.
The beauty of Sift is all in its interface. Content, which in this case are deals, sales, and other such items, are essentially self-curated by its users since they are the ones signing up for these shopping-related mailing lists. By nature this offloads most of the technical work for Sift. So what’s crucial to get followers returning to its iPad app (it’s currently available for iPad only).
In short, Sift is a mobile platform that sources content from emails – and it does so beautifully. While Shah declined to reveal any specific figures on the number of users and usage, since he’s saving this for later, he says that the user engagement on Sift “blows away” the retention rate of emails. That doesn’t go to say that email isn’t an effective platform for sales. Even today email is one of the best ways to reach and target consumers. But email wasn’t built to sell products; it’s a communication channel at its core. This disconnect is what inspired Shah to create Sift.
Email is just the first step, though. Shawn Wang, co-founder of Baidu and Deep Nishar, Senior Vice President of LinkedIn, are among the investors in Sift’s $540,000 seed funding round – a cue Sift is trying to hit social. Eventually, Sift will be able to curate sales and deals from Twitter and Facebook, with other outlets coming later, according to Sift’s early roadmap.
The team is also working on social gamification features. However Shah declined to comment on the details, but offered a broad overview by saying that aspects of the “traditional gaming world” will be make its way onto Sift in a manner that makes sense for a shopper.
Sift is apparently performing beyond Shah’s expectations, although we’ll have to wait for hard numbers. And as for a smartphone app? That’s also coming soon.