Start-up transforming online retail

Joel Freeman

Joel Freeman

Two north-west London-based Jewish entrepreneurs are turning to Israeli technology to develop their online fashion company.

Joel Freeman and Daniel Murray, both 28, launched Grabble, a hybrid fashion and social media platform, in April 2013.

Users are invited to “grab” items of their choice into the increasingly popular website server and compare prices of the product.

Now the duo are taking the company to Tel Aviv to keep up with the competitive global start-up industry.

Daniel Murray

Daniel Murray

“Israel holds the key to our company’s success,” says Freeman, a former accountant at PwC.

“We’ve developed our idea and have the technology, but we spend a lot of out time looking for quality. We just haven’t found it in the UK.

“Everyone is telling us to look to Tel Aviv. Technology is so advanced in Israel. It’s much more of a career choice for Israelis and that ethos hasn’t quite caught up here.

“It is well known in the technology industry that Tel Aviv is the place to source top developers in social commerce.”

Social commerce, or s-ecommerce, have been compared to a digital shopping centre, where consumers browse, discover products and connect with people interested in similar brands.

Murray believes that: “There has not been much innovation in shopping online, and we wanted to find a way of making it an enjoyable and a sociable experience.

“So we started asking all of our female friends how they shopped online, and what they did and did not like. We found that when they were browsing multiple sites they would lose track of items they were interested in.”

The site has managed to battle such shopping tendencies by encouraging users to build an online, personalised and comparative “wish list” by “grabbing” the item into a server from another website.

“Whether they’re buying something for Chanucah or just picking out a dress, Grabble allows shoppers to purchase everything from one website,” adds Murray.

“The grab button solves that frustrating issue of having too many internet bookmarks open at one time. It’s like one big shopping basket open at one time, instead of the 10 or 15 browsers. It is a unique way of discovering new fashion.”

Tapping into the social media market, embraced by companies from Pinterest to OpenSky, is expected to boost Grabble’s turnover.

Murray, who has specialist knowledge in marketing for youths, has helped accumulate the company’s 3000 users, 1000 retailers and 5000 products.

The Grabble founders say they earn a “small” commission on all sales made.

One of Grabble’s most innovative features is the sale alert tool — alerting users of any price drops.

Freeman says: “We are eliminating the hassle of checking the original retailer site. We did a lot of market research and we found most 18 to 30 year olds sign up to sale notifications on all their favourite sites.

“But with Grabble we can individually monitor the items you want and tell you when they go on sale.”

Big corporations have now included the “Grabble” tool as part of their own marketing plans, explains Freeman.

“Reiss, Topshop and ASOS have also adopted the platform.

“That gave our company a lot more credibility and has allowed us to raise money from investors.”

The company is now looking to raise another £1 million from investors to boost its market influence.

“One of the problems online retailers face is they have social communities to monitor (from followers to blogs and interactive members),” adds Freeman.

“It is hard for them to generate content fast enough. They don’t have the technology or resource to provide it on their own websites.

“What we have built can solve those problems. The grab button enables website to quickly generate fashion content.”

“It used to take hours for a marketing team to pull a look and share it online. But with Grabble, at a touch of a button they can share it on Twitter and drive sales.

“People are doing similar things in the United States but not in the fashion space. We are the first in the UK and that is looking good for us.”

www.grabble.co.uk

Last updated: 7:11pm, January 13 2014