Online furniture shop Wayfair has acquired a Boston-based mobile messaging application called Trumpit, with the aim of utilizing its technology in order to expand its customer service offerings. So yes, that means messaging will be a part of the mobile Wayfair application in the future.
Today, the app only offers users the ability to email or call the company when they click into the app’s “Contact Us” section.
Trumpit, which offers a Snapchat-like group chat experience using both photos and videos, had raised $1.2 million in seed funding, from investors including BDS Capital, New York Angels, and DraftKings CEO Jason Robins.
The app had been downloaded over 750,000 times on iOS and Android, but it apparently had trouble retaining users and keeping them engaged. The iOS app, for example, is unranked on App Annie’s charts, meaning it’s not even in the top 1,500 on any iTunes App Store chart.
The acquisition gives Wayfair access to Trumpit’s IP and the right to hire its employees. Seven total are joining from Trumpit, including co-founders Bill Gianoukos, Carl Nehme, and Nick Lizotte, the company says. Gianoukos was previously the chief product officer at HeyWire, before Trumpit.
While the deal includes the technology – making this not technically an “acqui-hire” situation – it’s clear that Wayfair was largely after the team.
“Bill and his team at Trumpit have developed valuable mobile technology and expertise that is core to Wayfair’s overall product strategy,” said Ed Macri, Wayfair CMO, in a statement.
“We are excited to welcome the very talented engineers and product leads from Trumpit to join Wayfair’s fast-paced, entrepreneurial workplace as we work together on breaking new ground in mobile innovation. Mobile is a key driver of our rapid growth and ongoing success as we continue to raise the bar on customer experience,” he added.
Wayfair isn’t saying when the technology will be integrated into its own mobile application, but notes it will be put to use to better connect with Wayfair shoppers.
Though it may seem strange for a retailer to pick up a photo-and-video focused messaging app, Wayfair has plans for utilizing the technology Trumpit developed so its staff and customers can exchange both images and videos. This would actually be a unique experience in terms of chatting with customer support, compared with most retailers today.
“As we continue to build out our customer service experience, we will leverage this technology to greatly enhance communications between our customer service and sales teams and our customers,” explains a company spokesperson of how the technology will come into play. “This could range from helping in sales to helping customers who may have a problem with an order. We will be able to share visuals – photos and video – quickly and easily between customers and our service reps,” they noted.
This deal is also now one of many examples of Wayfair tapping into the Boston tech community when in search of entrepreneurial talent. For example, the retailer acqui-hired the artisan marketplace CustomMade in May 2015, and it more recently hired Matt Zisow, the founder and CEO of personal shopping app HelloShopper, following the app’s shutdown this June.