Boutiika, the online-to-offline platform for independent boutiques, recently launched a same-day delivery service in San Francisco.
Boutiika allows shoppers to see what is in the 300 stores in its four-city network in real time and reserve items to try on later. For now, its DASH delivery service is only available locally.
We interviewed the company’s co-founder, Mohith Julapalli, about the progress Boutiika has made since we last profiled the company a little over a year and a half ago.
Please tell us about your new same-day delivery service in SF. How does it work?
Through Boutiika's DASH Same Day Delivery service, shoppers can now buy items from unique, local retailers, and get those items delivered in as short as a couple hours. This service is perfect for the busy professional who can't afford to leave the office or house but still wants instant access to fashion. Boutiika takes care of everything for the retailer -- from online purchase to managing the courier delivery.
So is this the beginning of supporting transactions on Boutiika?
Yes, Boutiika is now processing payments online. While this is a new service, DASH is still part of our overall ethos of facilitating local commerce.
What is your your reservation, 'hold in store' feature?
Through Boutiika's Hold In Store feature, users can request retailers to place certain items aside for an in-store visit. Items are held via a credit card for identification, but the hold itself is free. As a lot of the merchandise we feature on Boutiika is unique and sells quickly, the Hold In Store feature enables users to have confidence that an item they're interested in will be waiting for them when they have a chance to visit the store in person.
The site's UX has received a makeover -- what are the new and improved features?
We're the only site that features a comprehensive search feature that allows users to search the city for local products by everything from product keyword (try "gold dress") to brand (like "Rebecca Minkoff") to boutique name ("Chloe Rose," for example). Our search feature lets users quickly find exactly what they're looking for within, sometimes, blocks, providing an instant gratification component traditional e-commerce can never satisfy.
Our Boutique Map View feature helps people shop in store more efficiently by showing clusters of boutiques located near one another. San Francisco is a perfect example of a city with several great shopping neighborhoods. Boutique Map View helps our users plan shopping trips with plenty of boutique options.
Finally, the overall focus of the site is very product-focused. Our users respond to and are enthusiastic about cool, unique items, so that's what we present to them first, in a product carousel they can scroll through easily and intuitively.
You've expanded beyond SF to other markets -- where is Boutiika live now?
Boutiika is expanding quickly to markets other than San Francisco, and retailers in new cities have been eager to work with us. Currently, we're live in San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Austin with plans to expand to more cities this summer.
What are the demographics of your user base?
Our site seems to be most popular with the 20-40 year old market. Though we started with predominantly womenswear boutiques, our menswear component is quickly expanding, and our male user base is growing, which is very exciting.
How many boutiques are you working with in SF now?
We work with over 100 boutiques in San Francisco alone, and we get new retail partners each week.
Do you have mobile apps or are you planning on developing them?
A Boutiika mobile app is coming soon. Stay tuned!
Do you see any notable trends among your users and stores that might hint at where the fashion/tech world is headed?
Though e-commerce is a big part of peoples' lives now, brick-and-mortar retailers aren't going anywhere. In fact, over 90% of retail transactions still happen in-store. We foresee a retail landscape in which transactions occur both virtually and in-person, but in which technology aids efficiency no matter where the point of sale takes place. With this in mind, we built a piece of technology that helps people to shop in the real world.