Tech Pitch: Dropit
In a world of online marketplaces, this start-up is helping physical shops offer an equally streamlined experience with unique "hands-free shopping"...
Company name: Dropit
Founder: Karin Cabili (30)
Background: With a background in retail, Cabili is passionate about customer service and has spent months travelling the world to understand the shopping experience on a global scale.
Based in: London
Launched: Full commercial launch – September 2016
Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?
Dropit is a hands-free shopping experience that allows consumers to shop without the hassle of carrying bags.
How it works for the customer:
For only £10 a customer (who downloads the app or uses one of our in-store devices) can drop unlimited bags in any of our partner stores – or even drop bags stores that aren’t yet part of the Dropit network – and receive them at their home, office or hotel in one delivery at a time that suits them.
How it works for the retailers and property owners:
Dropit improves the customer experience, thus driving dwell time and ATV. We can also offer retailers insights through a dedicated platform that allows them to monitor operations and analyse shopping behavior in order to understand their customers and deliver more relevant, targeted marketing campaigns.
Partners in the Dropit network also build connections with other retailers and entertainment and lifestyle offerings.
How it works for the delivery companies/couriers:
Dropit offers a logistics solution that integrates with the existing local courier network, effectively opening up a new marketplace for them. Dropit’s platform automatically selects the best courier for each delivery address – based on price, performance, availability and cost.
Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?
The growth of the online marketplace has led to fewer in-store employees, empty warehouses, and a scatter-gun approach to fulfillment with inefficient delivery capabilities. Decreasing in-store sales are impacting on sales assistants, retailers, property owners, couriers and other stakeholders.
With online returns rates so high (30% or higher compared to just 3% in-store) retailers need to invest more in innovation and value adds for their in-store offerings, and Dropit wants to help. We are focused on bringing back exceptional customer service, translating the Amazon model to the physical retail world to create a true one-stop shop.
Is Dropit funded?
Yes – we’ve raised more than $10m with a mix of self-funding, private investors and VCs. We also have great support from some senior figures in the retail industry.
What were you doing before you started Dropit?
Having grown up in a retail family I’ve always been excited by the industry. I’m also passionate about customer service and believe lessons can still be learnt from the traditional role of a store assistant as it was years ago, when it was true artistry to sell fashion and demonstrate the beauty of well-made garments.
I had the idea for Dropit three years ago in New York, when I couldn't buy a pair of boots on my way to a meeting because I didn't want to carry them in and the store had no delivery service. So I lost my beloved boots and the store lost out on a sale!
I then spent the several months travelling the world to understand customer engagement and the retail experience in a global context. I met with retail executives and listened to their concerns and strategies for dealing with the growth of online shopping.
Since then I’ve been involved with all elements of the Dropit service, even delivering more than 700 bags myself! Now, we are working with 50 brands in the West End – including M&S, Gap, Uniqlo, Coach, Hunter, Lululemon and Liberty – and growing every month.
What’s the best thing about being based in London?
London is the global home of retail and has been pioneering the retail experience for decades. Combined today with an exciting start-up/digital scene, it is the perfect place to be. We are based on Regent Street, in the very heart of our market. Many international retailers have flagship stores here, and there is a great mix of international tourists as well as locals.
The UK also has a great business culture, and there is a lot of private sector and public sector support for entrepreneurs and innovators.
On a personal note – London retail is not renowned for its customer service compared to somewhere like the US. So if we can be part of pioneering better customer service here then we will have cracked it.
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