Kitchener-Waterloo is one of Canada’s top start-up communities. Boasting 2 universities and a college, there is no shortage of tech talent living here. While most tech start-ups are over my head (they are all impressive though!), Tulip Retail is one I can appreciate and understand. Tulip Retail promises to change shopping…..for the better!
The tech start-up, located in downtown Kitchener’s The Tannery Building is working with major retailers to provide shoppers with a seamless retail experience across all available shopping channels including in-store, online, via the telephone, etc. Now that I can get behind!
So what types of “problems” is Tulip Retail looking to solve?
- Getting you the merchandise you want. We’ve all been in this situation. You fall in love with a pair of shoes, but the store only has them in a size 7. You think you need a size 8, so you talk to the check-out clerk and they say a store 30 minutes away has them. You now have 2 options: A) go pick up the pair yourself from the store or B) have it shipped to the current store you’re in for a later pick-up. Which do you choose? Shoppers can’t always tell, from a website, what inventory a store has. They may have the correct size of an item but not the right colour. Tulip Retail asks, why can’t they just ship the item you want to your house?
- Speeding up the Check-out Line: As many can relate, just coming out of the holiday season, check-out lines can be long and brutal. Is there a way to speed up the process? Tulip Retail says yes. Why couldn’t the clerk who helped you a few minutes ago be equipped with an ipad and process the sale right there on the spot?
This is the future of retail. The combination of online and mobile shopping technology with an in-store shopping experience.
Tulip Retail was founded by Ali Asaria, who also founded Well.ca, Canada’s largest online health, baby and beauty store, in Guelph, ON. Obviously, Asaria has a passion for retail….and technology. His goal is to simplify the shopping experience whether it be ordering from the web and picking items up in store or ordering inside the store and having items shipped home. He must be onto something as Asaria recently raised 2.4 million in seed funding from a variety of prominent investors, including the founder of wordpress.com. Impressive!
At present, Tulip Retail is doing its research, going onto retail shop floors and watching the interactions between customers and customer service representatives. Tulip then looks to develop software that will integrate with what the retailer already has, but will help improve the customer experience. While the software is just in the development stage, I’m looking forward to seeing it in action… connecting physical stores and websites. Everything is in one spot, not disconnected (hey, where are those American eagle jeans I ordered on sale…there has to be a pair in store somewhere!).
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love to shop and the current retail environment isn’t awful. But, there definitely could be some improvements. Let’s hope Tulip Retail is able to help solve some of these issues, so we can get back to what we love…getting deals and looking/feeling fabulous.
All the best.
Image courtesy of ZippyCart.