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Chestr and its vision for Gen Z online shopping

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Besart Copa’s journey into e-commerce startups is not the result of brainstorming sessions focused on identifying the most lucrative sector to conquer, but rather out of simple necessity.

In the summer of 2021, Besart was shopping online for the winter. An avid user of the Honey coupon browser extension, he was convinced that there had to be an easier way to save items to your wishlist and know at any time if there were coupons on them.

“If something I want to buy is 30% off, I’ll probably buy it. But it seems very strange that you only know this by checking it. This is also how I would like to save items and put them in my wishlist folder. And it was such a pain to find the things I wanted to save. So I remember thinking I wanted something very simple: a single, quick Chrome extension that you click once, with clean folders at the top, and I want the products to be presented in a very simple, clean user interface.” , remembers Besart.

A year later, he was co-founder of Chester, an e-commerce startup for wishlists. Currently based in Washington DC, Besart left his native Albania when he was just 15 years old.

After graduating from Georgetown University, he focused in recent years on the intersection of technology and Generation Z, which served as additional motivation to create his startup.

Now, Besart and Chestr also aim to change the way Generation Z shops online, allowing them to save products from any online store with one click, while engaging with the community by filling their profiles with items they like to buy – which adds a social element to the whole experience.

“Another way to describe it is like we’re adding a social layer to online shopping with a focus on Gen Z. Today, most people are saving things either through Pinterest or through screenshots on their phone, or by copying and pasting links. So we’re trying to solve that with the utility element, and the element of Chester’s vision is that there needs to be a platform where people can express themselves through the things that they love,” said Besart at The Recursive.

So far, the vision of Besart and his co-founder and CTO Isaac Fung has been recognized and supported by investors.

This Albanian Founder Wants to Change the Way Gen Z Shops Online, TheRecursive.com
Isaac Fung and Besart Copa, co-founders of Chestr

Last year, Chestr raised $625,000 in a pre-seed round led by San Francisco-based mentoring community and venture capital fund Neo. The startup also plans to increase its funding round next month.

“After bootstrapping, the plan is to work on perfecting the tool and focus on growth. Basically, we’d like to explore this part of beginner content creators a little bit more and this sort of blurred line between becoming a tool for everyday buyers who are also everyday creators and who might become sort of influencers in large scale. Bésart explains.

How Personalized Recommendations Are Shaping the Future of Ecommerce

How do Gen Z shop? According to various reports, 52% of them prefer to do it online, and more than 70% prefer to wait until a product goes on sale rather than buying it at full price. Additionally, 38% of Gen Z hear about new products through social media ads, while 33% do so through social media posts.

When discussing future e-commerce trends and especially how Generation Z is shaping them, Besart believes that high-quality, personalized recommendations will become the future of e-commerce.

“We will never stop wanting optionality and there will never be an AI that says “this is the only shirt you will want to wear for the rest of your life” – that will simply never happen. Because people like things and want options. said Bésart.

Additionally, the idea for long-term Chestr users is that as they log more and more things, it also makes its recommendation mechanism more accurate.

As for its business model, Chestr plans to work with brands and charge them for the data it provides. The startup is also targeting small and medium-sized influencers and betting on them to use the tool while becoming large-scale influencers.

Once an influencer’s content generates substantial sales for a product, Chestr plans to introduce a “Chestr Creator Fund.” This fund will be used to remunerate influencers for their influence on sales management. The influencer receives compensation based on the sales generated by their recommendations.

“Ideally, it would be like this super powerful shopping assistant that doesn’t just help you save on things and get coupons – we also want to become the place where you actually go and find high-quality product recommendations on whatever interests you,” explains the Albanian founder.

Although it focuses primarily on the United States and Western Europe and is developing its products in the United States, Besart also hopes that buyers and Generation Z in Albania and the rest of the Balkans will also be able to use Chestr or similar tools that can enrich their shopping experience. local online shopping.

“I think there is certainly an opportunity for a kind of economical version of Amazon for the region that can build trust with customers and could become The Amazon of the Balkans. I don’t know if there are any startups working on it yet, but I think it’s definitely a big opportunity. concludes Bésart.

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