Smart local shopping app, Booodl recently completed a $2.85 million strategic investment round that was led by Scentre Group, the owner and operator of Westfield in Australia and New Zealand.
Scentre Group joins James Packer, Erica Baxter, Square Peg Capital and Matthew Grounds as investors in the Sydney-based startup.
There are currently over 15,000 stores across Australia that can be discovered through Booodl and this $2.85 million investment will be used to accelerate store growth and user acquisition.
“Our mission is to help all stores get found by shoppers who want their products,” Booodl co-founder and CEO, George Freney stated.
“To achieve this we’re in the process of building the most comprehensive and intelligent retail store directory out there, down to the category, brand and product level. It’s no small technical feat.”
What exactly does Booodl do?
The Booodl app and website uses geolocation and machine learning to help consumers find physical retail stores that sell the products they want.
Users can then save these products to a list and receive reminder notifications whenever they’re near a store that sells one, helping to drive more relevant customers in-store.
Consumers can also message stores via the app to confirm details such as price and availability, and pre-purchase products from retailers that have enabled the ‘Pay & Pickup’ feature.
This all reflects a growingly significant global trend around consumer-to-business messaging and in-message transactions.
What is the story behind Booodl?
The physical store is the heart of the shopping experience, yet stores still miss crucial opportunities to engage with nearby shoppers, and users waste countless hours trying to find and buy what they’re after. Connecting the two was a logical step for Booodl and one that resonated with Scentre Group.
“I was inspired to develop Booodl through my own frustration at frequently forgetting to buy things when I was at the shops,” George told Anthill.
“This problem lead me to start thinking about a solution and to find passionate and talented people who could help me bring it to life.”ss
“The name ‘Booodl’ stems from the phrase ‘Kit & Caboodl’ – the notion of all your things – both the things you have and the things you want,” he went on to explain. “Our purpose is to create extraordinary places, and connect and enrich communities.”
“Enhancing the connection between retailers and shoppers is a strategic objective for our business, and Booodl’s technology – which helps shoppers find what they want and allows retailers to be discovered easily – provides a meaningful platform where this can happen.”
George co-founded Booodl with Rajat Kulshrestha (now CTO).
George is an experienced and passionate tech entrepreneur.
In March 2013 he sold conTgo to Concur. conTgo’s mobile technology platform helped large corporations communicate with travellers and reduce risk.
Rajat has over 14 years experience at tech companies in product development and management, commercial and general management roles. He was previously the Global Chief Commercial Officer of Play Up, working with Microsoft prior to that.
The two met via a recruiter and hit it off immediately.
How is Booodl doing so far?
The nationwide launch of Booodl follows a successful Sydney-based pilot program with seven local retail partners. During this time, 31,600 products were added to users’ lists, 12,500 reminder notifications were sent to nearby shoppers, and over 6,200 messages were exchanged between stores and customers.
Australian label Aje, one of Booodl’s retail partners, said the app is helping their business to flourish within the evolving shopping landscape.
“An online presence is essential for any retail business, but being able to directly connect with customers in your local area is the future of retail,” said Adrian Norris, one half of the design duo behind Aje. “Booodl has helped us connect with our existing customers and reach new shoppers who otherwise may not have considered our stores.”
“People are tackling pieces of the puzzle, but no one else is bringing it all together into one elegant technological solution,” George told us, about his start-up’s competitors in this space.
“For example, there are a multitude of list apps out there, and when it comes to messaging there are the likes of Operator, LookUp, Path Talk and Facebook Messenger. Then you also have companies like Curbside that are working in the click and collect space.
“However, most of these solutions are owned by the retailers themselves (Nordstrom, Macy’s, John Lewis etc). Booodl will cover the entire retail landscape, which greatly increases its relevance for users.”