Skip to main content

Modest Helps Retailers Create Mobile Shopping Apps with Ease

It might be called Modest, but there’s nothing meek about this Chicago-based company’s great expectations. Helmed by Harper Reed and Dylan Richard, two techies who helped lead Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, the software company wants to make mobile commerce a cinch for small retailers.

“The shift towards mobile is undeniable at this point,” said Richard, a veteran of SkinnyCorp, the parent company of T-shirt community Threadless, and Crate & Barrel. “We want to help mom-and-pops and small stores connect more deeply with the consumer.”

Mobile now drives 47.5% of all e-commerce traffic, according to IBM, and as consumers become more comfortable with the idea of shopping on their smartphones, that number is likely to grow.

That’s why Modest is focused on helping small businesses quickly and easily create a mobile shopping app, or drop a smooth shopping experience into an existing one. Key word: Easily.

“If you’re a retailer, within a couple of minutes you can download a test app to your smartphone and be able to see what it looks like, tweak the interface and immediately upload it to Apple’s app store,” Richard said. In addition, there’s one-tap buying, “honest” pricing (which includes tax and shipping), easy editing and canceling of orders and each customer’s information is saved instantly and securely the first time they place an order so they don’t have to re-enter it next time.

“There are some really great features coming down the pipe, like promo codes and buy buttons that can be embedded into blogs, and Android, ApplePay and PayPal support are coming soon,” Richard said.

Backed by Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, Greylock Partners, 500 Startups and Base Ventures, the company’s clients include Intelligentsia Coffee, e-tailer Haute Hijab and plush toy maker Shawnimals.

Two pricing options are available: It’s free, or retailers can pay $200 per month for push notifications, e-mail buying, promotions, custom branding and quicker support responses. (The paid option is free for the first six months.)

“Essentially, people are only paying when it’s helping them,” Richard said. “We really want to help small retailers compete.”