Providers like Buy Local, Simply Local, Atalanda and eBay rely on marketplaces to bring local retail to the Internet. Founders Timo König and Max Zähringer have developed a smartphone app with the same purpose: With "Shoppen," retailers can access mobile commerce and multichannel sales and reach new customers: "Shoppen is not a marketplace, but rather a social shopping app," explains König. "It creates a mobile experience that enables customers to discover deals." Shoppen should launch in October in the Google and Apple app stores.
With the smartphone location services function, Shoppen knows where the user is and shows her the shops and products that are nearby. The offer can be filtered by preference and purchasing needs. "To create more shopping enjoyment and share information, we connect with local bloggers and of course the promotions and events organized by our retail partners – that is how we combine fun and shopping," says König. This combination is intended to keep users in the app, and give stores more interest and reach than the usual marketplace formats, whose reach is very frequently lacking.
Users can create profiles, and in particular reserve products or have them delivered to their home, or for travelers even to a coffee shop or another central address: This costs them €7 in delivery fees, but for that price the delivery person even waits until the product has been tried out or on – and takes it back if it is not the right thing after all.
The Cologne-based startup collaborates with a national delivery firm for these services. "Delivery is available in 21 cities," reports König. "Where retailers arrange for delivery themselves, we can also start in smaller cities that are not yet served by our logistics provider."
The two founders have signed up 40 retailers and chains as partners for the app before launch. These stores enter products and offers for Shoppen into their own separate portal in just a few clicks, and can send push notifications to customers or use other messages to interact with them.
The startup headquartered in Cologne, Germany is paid from the commissions that are due after a sale, and from the monthly €39 subscription paid by each retailer. "This rate is not a huge risk for the stores, and commissions are only due after a sale has been made," says König. For those offering bulkier goods, such as furniture or consumer electronics, there is also a display window option to present products for €45 per month.
The idea for Shoppen started in 2013. That is when König, who studied media design and international business, began building the first app and recruiting local retailers for the network. The concept for local mobile commerce followed when sales specialist Max Zähringer joined him in 2015. The company was finally founded in 2016 and now employs some 20 freelance employees and consultants.
"We discussed every function and modification with the retailers. That meant a longer development time, but led to significantly better quality and functionality," says König. "The understanding of what we offer with Shoppen has also grown over the years." In Cologne and other cities: Once the app launches, sales can truly begin.