One of the challenges with online shopping is worrying that you’re not getting the best deal. Customers abandon shopping carts regularly, thinking they’ll spend just a few more minutes researching the product in question, but then never return. A company called PoachIt, which has now closed on an additional $1.8 million in funding, is helping turn those hesitant buyers into customers through its intelligent shopping assistant and mobile apps that help to find working coupon codes, plus tools that allow you to track price drops for any product.
The round includes new investors Robert Sillerman (media entrepreneur and founder of SFX), Roland Berger (German entrepreneur, founder and Honorary Chairman of the international strategy consulting firm Roland Berger Strategy Consultants), and Arnab Gupta (Founder and Executive Chairman of Opera Solutions, a technology and analytics company focused on Big Data science).
In addition, all of PoachIt’s prior investors returned, including Ronald Lauder (the son of cosmetics entrepreneur Estée Lauder who serves as a Chairman and board member at The Estée Lauder Companies); Fred Langhammer (Former CEO of Estée Lauder, Board Member at The Walt Disney Company, and Chairman, Global Affairs, The Estée Lauder Companies); and Itzhak Fisher (Founder of Pereg Ventures and EVP of Global Business Development for The Nielsen Company).
To date, that brings PoachIt’s funding to $2.8 million.
Founded in 2012 Gidi Fisher, an early BuzzMetrics employee (exited to Nielsen in 2007 for over $100 million), PoachIt initially began as a web application before later making the jump to mobile.
Fisher, who had been working at Nielsen post-acquisition, says he had been itching to go back and do something more entrepreneurial, and found there were problems still to be solved with online shopping.
“I shop online all the time…and I was searching for a bag for [my wife] online and what I did when I found a couple that I liked was bookmark them to see if the price ever changed,” he says. “But what I found was pretty fascinating. The items were going on sale, but not necessarily at the end of the season. Prices were always changing.”
What Fisher realized following that experience was that, while average consumers may only expect big sales a few times per year as retailers clear out their out-of-date stock, online retailers’ pricing is far more dynamic.
PoachIt was built to help consumers take advantage of those ongoing fluctuations, allowing you to swoop in and “poach” the item you want just as the price drops. Combining this feature with online coupon codes helps customers get the very best deal on the item they want. The end result, effectively, is fewer abandoned shopping carts and more conversions.
Mobile Is Growing
Late last year, PoachIt introduced an iOS application and more recently, it rolled out to Android, allowing consumers to shop by phone, not just the web. These days, says Fisher, PoachIt’s mobile business is growing faster than its desktop operation, and combined, the company now has 175,000 users across both platforms.
PoachIt today is tracking over half a million products. Users are alerted to price changes via email, and are highly engaged. The emails have an open rate of 64% and a click-through rate of 17%. “When people get an email from us, they know it’s about a product they expressed interest in buying, and we’re coming back to them with that great deal,” explains Fisher.
The price drop feature is similar in some ways to what Pinterest has been doing with its own Price Alerts, which also allow users to see when a product goes on sale. But Fisher repeats the now-familiar refrain about PoachIt’s bigger competitor, saying that Pinterest is for “aspirational” collecting, while PoachIt is very focused on shopping. Plus, combined with the coupon codes, it’s doing more to make sure customers are scoring good deals.
With the additional funding, the plan now is to grow its team, including more engineering hires, and launch on iPad. They’re also working to bring local, in-store offers to PoachIt’s mobile users, who will be alerted to nearby sales through push notifications. The company is also planning to expand internationally in the months ahead, notes Fisher.