Since 2015, the term “conversational commerce” has been bandied about to describe everything from the WeChat phenomenon in China to the rise of voice assistants like Alexa.

But one startup is taking the concept to a whole other level. According to TechCrunch, London-based Threads has raised $20 million to sell clothes exclusively through messaging apps like WhatsApp, Instagram, iMessage, WeChat and Snapchat.

And it doesn’t even have a website.

Taking the messaging world thread on 🌍

Threads acts as a liaison between luxury brands like Dior and Fendi, and a very wealthy millennial clientele.

The company holds no inventory and has customers in 100 countries who spend an average of $3k per shopping spree.

Sophie Hill, Threads’ CEO, says that creating a chat-native service came down to a simple strategy — be where their customers are:

"We had to learn to serve through chat rather than create what was convenient for us as a business."

But can it scale? 😏

As you might expect from a business trafficking in luxury, Threads provides a high-touch service, occasionally flying designers to other cities to show off pieces to customers.

Like any cost-conscious CEO, Hill is hoping to add AI to the mix:

"We are going to be using technology to enhance that personalised experience. Using tech blended with human interaction will be the ultimate service for the luxury industry."

Can Threads continue to offer a hyper-personalized experience without actual persons involved?

As the dream of conversational commerce becomes reality, it won’t be the only business asking that question.


This is an excerpt from The Message, Smooch’s biweekly newsletter about the messaging industry, chatbots and conversational commerce. Subscribe to get the next edition delivered straight to your inbox.