If your keychain is full of loyalty cards and you’re tired of scrolling through your email for coupons at the check-out counter, a new app is aiming to make your shopping experience a bit easier. Organizing and optimizing loyalty cards, giftcards, personal coupons and a list of carefully curated deals, Shoply is the new personal shopping assistant.
Shoply Founder and CEO Pala Kuppusamy describes the smartphone app as a magical shopping genie.
“What does a genie do?” he asks. “It knows your preferences, it knows your liking, you just tell it a little [and] your wish is my command.” With some basic information from the user and tracking a shopper’s in-app behavior, Shoply delivers personalized coupons relevant to a user’s style and preferences.
Shoply sources coupons from over 100 top retailers across the U.S., spanning brands from Abercrombie & Fitch and Gap, to Best Buy and Ikea.
“We manually curate, we go out there and we look for the best deals and then we curate those ourselves instead of doing mass aggregation, just to cut down on the clutter and ensure the best quality,” says Shoply Director of Content and Communication Amanda Patton.
Curators search for coupons from office supply stores, health and beauty, and fashion retailers – basically anything one would find at a mall that isn’t food, a convenience store or grocery. Currently, Shoply is just sourcing online and in-store deals that are already out there with a long-term goal of having retail partners with exclusive deals.
In addition to the hand-picked deals by curators, the app will also house weekly circulars like the Target or Ikea ad.
All of this content will combine with user-added data to offer a complete shopping experience. Users can add giftcard and loyalty card numbers to be stored in the app. They can also snap photos of any personal, exclusive coupons, eliminating the need to carry paper coupons.
The data is organized in an all-in-one mobile checkout pouch.
“When our users walk into a retail store, everything they need for checkout is bundled into this pouch,” Kuppusamy says. “They can just show their phone to the cashier and all of the necessary details are ready so redemption is easy.” The app does all the heavy lifting to deliver a personalized, contextualized shopping experience.
The app is also incentivized with a rewards system. Using the apps gives shoppers points which they can redeem for gift cards. Shoply will also be heavily involved in social media, providing another outlet for rewards by encouraging users to invite friends and share their experience.
Shoply has big aspirations as to how the app will changes a user’s shopping experience.
“There is a huge potential in multiple aspects,” Kuppusamy says. “This could transform, transform is a huge word and I’m using it with caution, but this could really influence the way the loyalties are managed in the future by retailers and also by the users.”
Retailers can deliver the right coupons to the right people, while shoppers can fully utilize all incentives available.
A serial entrepreneur, Kuppusamy was familiar with TechColumbus from his other ventures and it was the first place he turned when starting Shoply. The team developed a relationship with Rick Coplin, their assigned representative from TechColumbus. While focusing on venture support now, Kuppusamy knows TechColumbus will be a great partnership down the line if they need funding.
Shoply has been in development since December 2013. The team is working towards – and needs users – for a beta launch starting September 19. Shoply is eager for user feedback to further improve the functionality of the app.
“It’s not a perfect product yet, we’re definitely working on the bugs and defects and so that’s what the beta phase is all about – getting the opinion…of a small circle of users,” Patton says. The real-world feedback will help them learn how they can better fit the product into users’s lives.
Users who sign up for beta testing will have two weeks to try out Shoply. Upon completion they will be asked to complete an exit survey discussing what they liked and didn’t like. Also, the first 100 people to sign up and complete the exit survey will receive a $5 e-gift card to Starbucks.
For more information and to sign up for beta testing, visit signup.shoplylabs.com.