A new Cape Town-based start-up, Guzzle, hopes to shake up the world of online price aggregators by bringing the newspaper and catalogue specials of traditional stores to the web.
Ric Meulemans, Guzzle’s co-Founder and Director says that in only a month, the site has reached 300 unique visitors a day. However he wants to grow that number to 200 000 per month before the start-up approaches the country’s big retailers. The site is not yet monetised and, at the moment, Guzzle staff have to manually capture around 10 000 specials a week.
“What we do to keep costs down is hire data capture staff from India, China and the Philippines via a service called oDesk. We physically send them the daily newspapers, weekend newspapers and the catalogues from Game, Makro and so on”, says Muelemans. The building of the site itself was also outsourced to developers in Russia to keep costs manageable. “If it doesn’t work out for any reason the loss is smaller and I haven’t employed people permanently that I then have to let go.”
According to Muelemans, the idea for arose from his experiences of looking through the inserts in the weekend papers looking for a specific item to buy, and then forgetting which store had stocked it at the best price. He investigated who was collecting and comparing offerings online, only to find that all the websites were aggregating offers from other online stores.
He hopes that Guzzle can help facilitate greater support for online retail for major retailers as a lot of them “are still behind on the e–commerce front”. Future plans include product pricing charts and a virtual basket of goods – aimed at tracking retailers that over-charge and a ‘CPI-type’ view of combined costs across retailers over time. Guzzle will also be looking at mobile applications and customisable email alerts for its users
The start-up’s ultimate aim is to become a reference source for consumers looking to find the best prices before they go to physical stores, as well as an e-commerce hub for those who don’t want to go to the store at all. “We could eventually sell our data to retailers to allow them to compare their prices with their competitors’ prices in an easy way. Many of them are still going through catalogues themselves to do this.”