Retail isn’t usually the first sector that comes to mind when you think about technology and startups. However, with the emergence of on-demand delivery, the arrival of Amazon on Australian shores and the growth of e-commerce in general, retailers now more than ever are looking for ways to stay relevant and engage with their customers.
One Australian based startup that is helping make that a reality is Tilly. Tilly is a mobile application that lets you bypass the cash register and “checkout” on your phone. To expand on that further Tilly completely removes the need to wait in line at a checkout. With Tilly you can scan items as you shop and then once you are done you simply walk out the store. Tilly charges your designated card and remits the amount to the retailer.
Recently, Tilly partnered with The Party People to demonstrate the value of their technology at a pop-up store in the lead up to Halloween. The Party People was founded in 1982 and even in the early days of the web was a pioneer for online retail in Australia. In fact, as the CEO Dean Salakas outlined during an interview with Startup Soda, The Party People launched their online party store in 1999 and became Google Adwords first Australian advertiser at the same time.
Furthermore, we often think that “Click and Collect” is something new, but The Party People were offering this service in 1999 and also led the charge with same day shipping. As a result Dean outlined that it was only natural for The Party People to partner with Tilly for this pop up store experience. “We have a history of being ahead of the curve and when I saw Tilly it looked like something that could improve customer experience in our stores” said Dean.
As Jason Frew, the Co-Founder of Tilly went on to say “it was a big commitment from Dean to allow us to partner with The Party People at one of, if not, the biggest times of the year for his business leading up to Halloween”. For Tilly the partnership provided valuable insight into the user experience and allowed the company to gain feedback on the impact Tilly has on increasing the average basket size and how easy to use the app is.
Jason then highlighted how “one of the biggest takeaways was to make sure that we provide multiple ways to register your account on Tilly. Within a week we had taken on board that feedback and addressed it for future events and retailers”. Tilly also saw some great success amongst the user base attending the pop up store. In particular, Jason said “we saw our first return customers, customers downloading and purchasing through the app for the first time, and even a Uni student coming back the next day to show their mates how Tilly worked”
While taking onboard any new technology can be a challenge for Dean and The Party People it is all about the risk v reward. As Dean outlined, as a forward thinking organization they are constantly pitched new products or services to implement online or in their physical stores. When deciding what to test and implement it largely comes down to the cost of doing so and whether it will significantly improve their customers shopping experience.
In Tilly’s case Dean saw that the product had the chance to be something that is really “sticky” for their customers. That, and the fact that The Party People have always been about making the buying process easier for their customers was one of the big draw cards to test the technology. Following the wrap up of the event The Party People will be evaluating the success of Tilly and potentially look to roll it out to their brick and mortar retail stores in the future.
For Tilly there is a lot more in the works. They will offering Tilly as a payment method for big ticket items at the World’s Biggest Garage sale and also have additional partnerships lined up with chemists, grocery stores and apparel retailers to trial their application in store. Tilly are also on the lookout for other unique partnership opportunities, including pop-up retailers and events. If you are interested in trialing Tilly’s technology you can get in touch here.