Tal Rubinstein describes her company's global personal shopping app, called Shupperz, as the perfect combination of brick-and-mortar retail and e-commerce.
Currently only serving users from Israel, the app connects online shoppers in a fashion similar to what Uber does for those in need of a ride, except in a different location. Remote shoppers, or “shuppers,” work directly with users and are able to get them the items they desire direct from stores.
According to Rubinstein, whose company also is called Shupperz, the app is a win-win for retailers and users, since new traffic can be directed to a store, and the user is able to benefit from local store discounts and promotions.
“The fact that we are the perfect symbiosis between online shopping and offline shopping is something really amazing and different to our ecosystem, as opposed to other peer-to-peer platforms,” Rubinstein said. “If you take Airbnb and Uber, they are great apps, but their ecosystems were not really happy about them. The hotels didn’t appreciate Airbnb and the taxi drivers felt that way about Uber.
“With us, the amazing thing is that this is an online app, but basically … we’re driving new revenue to the store without adding substantial cost. And we’re enabling shoppers to shop at a store that couldn’t have been shopping there in any other platform.”
Earlier this month, users from Tel Aviv were given the chance to partner with nine “shuppers” at The Mills at Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth – a popular shopping destination for traveling Israelis, according to Rubinstein – as part of the app’s official launch.
And in a four-hour event held Jan. 10, those doing the shopping at The Mills completed 167 transactions of over 300 items worth more than $10,000, Rubinstein said.
“We wanted a place where we can get a lot of brands and that it would be good for us to market here,” Rubinstein said. “Almost every Israeli that goes to New York makes a stop at The Mills at Jersey Gardens. We know of a lot of brands that are not in Israel and even if they are, the price gaps are just huge.”
The most popular brand during the event, Rubinstein said, was Victoria’s Secret. The least popular: Gap. Neither has retail outlets in Israel.
But it is not just the ability to connect shoppers and retailers abroad that makes the app attractive, Rubinstein said.
“The better the ‘shupper,’ the more talented and advice he gives, the more personal the chat gets [and] the better the transactions and the more return users,” she said. “At Lego, we had such an amazing ‘shupper.’ She is a mother of three and she knew how to give insight and advice on which Legos to buy for which age.
“We had one of our ‘shuppers’ that was asked to get jeans from Levi’s and that is a very expensive brand here in Israel. He went to the store where they had a promotion on jeans where instead of getting a pair for $100, he got them for $60. The shopper was very happy because he would have paid up to 300 percent more here in Israel.
“An hour and a half later, in the same in-app chat, the shopper contacts the guy again and said, ‘After I bought those jeans for you, I bought two other items at the store and there is an in-store promotion where if I bought three, I got a discount on everything. So, I returned your jeans and bought them at $39.’ He kept buying more with the ‘shupper’ because that is not something you can get anywhere else.”
Rubinstein said the app will be relaunched at The Mills in March due to its success with the staff and stores. At its second official launch, the app will partner with local stores so the app user can get more discounts – in theory, at least.
For Rubinstein and her co-founder Tsion Sade, the future of the app exists in Asia and here in the tristate area.
“Right now, the 50,000 downloads are 90 percent in Israel because that is the only place we’re marketing,” she said. “Our plan is to start marketing in Asia as our demand market in the U.S. locally. When we did the event, so many people wrote to us in our social media from Manhattan asking if they could get in on it. They said ‘Do you know how much I would pay for someone to go to Jersey Gardens for me and do the shopping for me?’”