Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:04 pm
Innovation: Product recommendation algorithm
FOunder: Jalem Getz
For about a year, the staff at Milwaukee startup Wantable Inc. labored over the creation of an algorithm for its e-commerce site that will help the company suggest new products to its customers.
Launched Dec. 5, the newly completed feature, called “Stream,” was implemented along with a redesign of Wantable’s web platform.
“As we continue to grow, every couple of years we decide to rebuild the systems and this was a major overhaul,” said Jalem Getz, founder, president and chief executive officer of Wantable.
Prior to the overhaul, Wantable was more of a styling service, but Getz said this new technology allows for the customer to select one specific, personalized item, and the stylist can then add complementary products to the selection. It’s similar to the experience at a department store like Nordstrom, he said.
“Customers can view products that our algorithms feel are a good fit for them,” Getz said. “We really feel the majority of our customers are going to require one or two key items. We’re a customer-centric brand, so our customers are telling us that this is another way they want professional styling.”
A customer who visits the Wantable site for the first time is asked to select a category—Style, Fitness or Men’s Fitness. The user then takes a brief lifestyle quiz, evaluating groups of apparel or accessories and rating each “Love,” “Like or “Dislike” to define his or her style. He or she fills in sizes and measurements, indicates how often individual product types should be included in a shipment, and lists how often the stylist should send outfits for certain occasions, like date nights or work.
The customer then receives a shipment of seven suggested pieces of clothing and accessories, tries them on, and can either purchase or return each item.
The Stream is a new way for the customer to shop on Wantable, by indicating specific clothing items they would like to receive in their orders. The algorithm can identify that a user has said she’s a size medium and likes the color brown, and as a result, show her those items in the Stream, Getz said.
“It’s a highly customized experience,” Getz said. “That algorithm is continuing to be developed…and continuing to be refined by our teams. We believe that it’s going to help us continue to serve the customers we already have.”
And it has quite a few of them. Founded in 2012, Wantable now has about 118 employees and the Inc. 5000 listed its 2016 revenue at $14.1 million. The company operates out of two Milwaukee buildings: a main 30,000-square-foot office at 112 E. Mineral St., and a 70,000-square-foot warehouse a few blocks away at 507 S. Second St., which handles all distribution.
It’s not an ideal setup, and the company has been seeking a larger facility. Getz expects to make a purchase this year or in 2019.
“We plan on keeping our Mineral Street headquarters though for a few more years, because since we moved the distribution out of here, we have a lot more space and our employees really like it,” he said. “We actually built out a nice lounge for our employees and have a huge photo studio now.” ν