BUTIIK: Latest App Keeps Shoppers in the Loop

The members of a new startup founded by four young entrepreneurs want to simplify your path-to-purchase shopping experience. Over the last year, they’ve been focused on trying to combine the ease and speed of online shopping sans the perfunctory aspects of brick-and-mortar buying.

Their goal is to bridge the gap between e-commerce and the physical retail stores by tapping into the advantages offered by mobile technology.

“Traditionally, you would have to browse through several websites or you would have to spend a lot of time making a trip to the mall and going from store to store to find that one product that you like,” said Marzooq Haque, Butiik CFO and University of Toronto Mississauga student.

Enter Butiik: an app that displays a catalogue of clothing items that are available near you based on your current location, all within your smartphone. What’s more, you can have your purchase delivered to you within an hour.

“What we’re doing is we’re making it location-based: you open the app and click on the product you want, and it integrates all the products in the area, all within your smartphone,” Haque said.

Butiik’s recent association with I-CUBE (UTM’s on-campus accelerator that offers early-stage business development and commercialization services as part of the Institute for Management & Innovation) has been instrumental, providing a platform of inspiration and support needed to grow the new business.

“So far it’s been really positive and productive for us,” said Ahmad Zia, Butiik CEO and a York University graduate. “We are all based in the area and we don’t have a dedicated office space so this makes it really easy for us to come here and work on it.”

Both Haque and Zia along with members and UTM students Syed Arefin (COO) and Usamah Monir (CMO) have recently partnered with LiquidProject, a startup studio that works with entrepreneurs by sharing their resources, expertise and connections. “Unlike traditional venture capitalist firms, there is a lot more that LiquidProject brings to the table, alongside investments, which made our decision to partner with them a lot easier,” Zia said. “They are very hands on, and we meet with them once or twice per week. We’ve been working with them for about a month.”

By uniting e-commerce capabilities with a location-based function Butiik is poised to attract not only mobile-native shoppers, but also a burgeoning group of mobile-only shoppers who are open to the use of technology for everyday tasks.

“Our target market is between 15 to 40 years old,”Haque said, adding: “Whether you’re a young professional or a student, everybody is busy with work or school, so we are trying to make it very convenient for them.”

With an expected launch for early September, Butiik is currently focusing on its partnerships with Toronto’s retail brands, alongside acquiring a strong user-base prior to the launch.

Subscribe now. Go to www.butiikapp.com for more information. And tell all your friends.


About the Author: Sarah Jane Silva is an avid baker and the strategic communications officer for the Department of Management and the Institute for Management and Innovation at the University of Toronto Mississauga.

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