Instant gratification IRL: Boutiika launches, reserving merchandise at localboutiques for users
There's a new way to spend your time and money online, now with Boutiika, a reservations site that offers a streamlined way to shop online... in the real world.
Sound contradictory? Let us explain: The company showcases a real-time feed of merchandise at fashion boutiques in different cities around the country. Shoppers peruse the items and then reserve their top choices for in-store purchase.
Identifying Austin as a tech-savvy city of young professionals (and unemployed musicians), Boutiika chose the capital city as the third city to launch behind New York and San Francisco.
We spoke with Boutiika co-founder Ruchika Kumar about why this service stands out, what users can expect and what the team hopes to see in Austin.
CultureMap: What was the impetus to start Boutiika when there are already so many shopping sites like Gilt and Uncovet?
Ruchika Kumar: We’re solving a different need. Many customers still prefer to try before they buy and often what they are searching for can be found at local curated boutiques. Boutiika helps users discover those items and makes them accessible instantly based on location, so a consumer doesn’t have to wait for next day deliveries.
It’s for those fashionistas that crave a unique look and want to get something that isn’t mass-produced and isn’t available all over the web. - Ruchika Kumar
CM: I see can that Boutiika allows you to reserve merchandise to buy in store, but not online. What's the intention there?
RK: Our merchandise is exclusive at local boutiques and it is available to purchase in store. It’s almost like window-shopping online, so you’re in the know before you go. It’s all to help your off-line shopping experience.
CM: What's the benefit, really, for users who sign up for the service?
RK: The benefit for consumer is to touch and feel products before they buy. Getting that instant gratification. It’s for those fashionistas that crave a unique look and want to get something that isn’t mass-produced and isn’t available all over the web. The benefit for local boutiques is driving foot traffic to their stores, while helping them be discoverable online.
CM: What kinds of boutiques in Austin do you see participating?
RK: We like to represent eclectic fashion boutiques, from vintage, to locally made, to those that carry our favorite brands, to eco-friendly and consignment stores. Among the Austin shops already featured on our site are Atown, Downstairs Apparel, Ermine Vintage, Kendra Scott, Leighelena, Plain Ivey Jain, Prize and SoLa.
To see a full list of participating boutiques, click here.
Fashion and tech seem to be merging closer and closer together. Do you think Austin will be as quick as the other cities to adopt this technology? Let us know what you think.