Susan Bruch has a mission to drive consumers back into brick and mortar stores with Zip Shop, a new product locator app to help shoppers find desired products at stores nearby.
Retail technology startup Your Style Unzipped is behind the mobile app and online platform. Beginning in September, Houston-based Zip Shop will launch a test phase in Dallas. Other test locations include Houston, Atlanta, Nashville, Santa Monica, and SoHo New York.
Through the app, which uses GPS, users can browse content and discover items available in-store by ZIP code to close the gap between an online point of discovery and an in-store point of sale. Users can then place an item on hold, purchase for in-store pick-up, or arrange a delivery.
“For as much as we shop online, we have no idea what’s in stores down the street from us,” said Bruch, who is the founder of YSU. “From a retailer’s standpoint, it can drive traffic from ZIP codes that don’t normally shop in your store. Therefore, it increases your customer base and bottom line sales. Your Style Unzipped is part of a bigger mission to help stores move merchandise and bring stock back to stores.”
Bruch said testing ZIP code shopping will be able to inform retailers how far consumers are willing to go outside of their ZIP codes to find what they want.
“Dallas’ style and fashion history goes deep into past generations.”
Young shoppers who are digital natives have to be re-conditioned to go into a store, and they don’t want to waste time visiting several different stores in order to find what they need, so Zip Shop can promptly connect users to products and introduce them to stores they haven’t been to before, she said.
Bruch said Dallas was chosen as a test city because it’s the center of retail innovation in Texas.
“A test wouldn’t be a test without being in Dallas,” she said. “Dallas’ style and fashion history goes deep into past generations.”
Zip Shop will partner with 10-14 retailers, including single and multi-brand stores, in each pilot city, with expansion expected after the test phase. Bruch also hopes to partner with delivery services in the future.
“We’re going to do all we can on our end to help retailers keep their brick and mortar open,” Bruch said.
Rachel Linch contributed to this report.