Removing pain points – Dropit on pioneering hands-free shopping

If the future of retail is about customer experience and removing pain points, then Dropit might have cracked one big problem. The ‘hands-free’ shopping solution lets users shop till they drop without having to carry their purchases. Instead they can drop them off in one or many of Dropit’s partner stores and have them sent straight to their home, office or hotel in a single delivery.
With the company having just signed up Marks and Spencer’s as a new partner, founder Karin Cabili explains the company’s business model, why retailers should be focusing on offline experiences and how Dropit users spend 140% more.

How would you explain what Dropit does in a way that my grandmother would understand?
Dropit is a hands-free shopping experience which allows consumers to shop without the hassle of carrying bags. For only £10 you can drop unlimited bags in different stores in London’s West End and receive them at your home, office or hotel in one delivery.
When you shop in one of our partner stores you can drop all your bags – even ones who aren’t yet part of the Dropit network. Every Dropit bag has a unique barcode that is scanned and tracked by the consumer, and all the products are insured for 100% of their value.
Dropit isn’t a delivery company, it’s a first mile solution that integrates with last mile logistic companies to provide the retailers and consumers with a seamless, hands-free shopping experience.
Everything in the Dropit service is built in a way that means there is no need for manpower. It’s all technology driven. We have a consumer app available on iOS and Android which allows the customer to connect their shopping to their account, and track their bags. We integrate multiple technology channels to maximise operational efficiency.

brick and mortar retail mobile
What is the business model of the company?
Consumers buy a Dropit Day Pass for £10 which allows them to drop unlimited bags in our partner stores – similar to the Amazon Prime model. This gives the customer a hands-free store-to-door shopping experience.
For retailers, and in the future, shopping malls, it’s a plug-and-play solution. We don’t need any integration with point of sale. Installation takes 10 minutes. We just need internet access and we’re ready to go. We’ve worked hard to find a solution that effectively works for the industry.
Who is the typical user of Dropit?
Every shopper is a potential Dropit user, because nobody enjoys carrying bags around.
Today we operate in the West End of London and I believe that there are several profiles of a Dropper. In the West End we are talking both domestic and international tourists who want to shop and continue to enjoy the museums, restaurants and local tourist attractions without going back-and-forth to a hotel. Interestingly 70% of our users today deliver to home address.
As we grow we are starting to add leisure and hotel partners to the network so hotels or tourists attractions in London will start to offer it in the room or ticket price. This opens up huge marketing opportunities for brands in the Dropit network.
Karin Cabili DropIt physical retail
What types of retail does Dropit cater for?
Dropit is a solution for every retailer. Both high-end stores that are already offering a luxury product and service to their customers as well as high-street stores that are starting to understand the Dropit proposition is an affordable solution to enhance the experience for their customers.
What are the benefits for the retail brands?
There are huge benefits for retailers, Dropit can be used as a tool to increase dwell time and ATV, and improve the customer experience in-store. We also offer the retailer online insights into the offline world, to enable them to understand more about their customers and deliver targeted marketing campaigns.
In addition, by joining as a Dropit partner, retailers can benefit from being part of a network, giving power back to the high street stores.

offline shopping experience
What are the barriers to the service?
I think it’s actually explaining that Dropit is the future of retail and they [the retailers] need to invest more in the in-store offering, as opposed to all the focus they are giving to their online channels. Retailers need to remember, returns in-store are normally around 3% compared to returns of 30% or higher when the customer shops online.
It’s a challenge to explain it as retail is a traditional industry. The people that founded it are not in the picture anymore. The new generation haven’t stopped for a minute to research and understand the heart of this industry that is still centred around manufacturing and seasonality. Fashion is changing every year, so stock is a huge problem and this is something we can help retailers solve on our journey together.
What are your plans for the future?
We built Dropit as a plug-and-play solution so we have the potential to operate in most of the big shopping districts in Central London. We are already in talks with property owners worldwide looking at markets like the Middle East, Asia, and US. We are launching in Bond Street now and the retailers that are our partners are happy to duplicate the offering at their other site locations, such as Knightsbridge, Chelsea etc. We are focused on major retailers and property owners at the moment, but as we grow we will offer the interface also to independent brands and retailers.
I think the two things retailers are trying to achieve – getting a better understanding of their customer and what it is that they actually want. They are spending a lot of money buying information from credit card companies and trying to do loyalty programmes. If retailers understood exactly what their customers wanted, like the online world allows – this would make a huge difference and customers would be much more engaged.
customer experience physical retail
Will the basic service evolve at all?
On the consumer side we are going to add some more features, such as getting something when it’s not in the size or colour you want. This will mean that we can deliver from another store and the customer doesn’t need to go there. This is where the network effect comes into its own.
We are here to connect businesses and create market space that digitalises the physical world of experience. It’s all about integration with the consumer to really understand how we can help the experience and save time and make it about the shopper.
How will you provide the out of size or colour offering?
Today we’re not connected to a retailers inventory but it is in our future plans to help if our partners would like to optimise their stock control. This is the biggest problem in retail today, as stores would have less need for warehousing or discounting at the end of the season, and we’re working hard to address it.
It’s all about the participation of the retailers. The quicker they join and the more invested they are – Dropit can really help them.
Images courtesy of Dropit
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