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Lunar New Year

No monkeying about for festive shoppers: Boutir app delivers virtual guide through Hong Kong’s Lunar New Year Fair

Creators plan to enlarge its functions from map and online shopping platform to cater to market stalls keen to jump into round-the-clock e-commerce

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 February, 2016, 4:24pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 February, 2016, 4:36pm

Festive shoppers can now turn to a social shopping app to help navigate the busy Lunar New Year Fair at Victoria Park in Hong Kong and also buy seasonal knick knacks online.

Social shopping app Boutir Collect, owned by RedSo, has launched a map of the temporary market by Causeway Bay that serves as a virtual guide to all the goodies on offer from various stalls along with the option to shop directly through the app.

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“The [market] is very crowded and many times people do not know where to shop. Even if they find an interesting product in the media, they don’t know where to find it, because it’s very crowded,” said Eric Ng, founder and CEO of RedSo and producer of the Boutir and Boutir Collect apps.

More than 170 dry goods stalls have signed up with Boutir to feature their products, ranging from soft toys cashing in on the Year of the Monkey to pug pillows and tote bags printed with MTR-related puns.

Stallholders can use the app for online promotions - even after the Victoria Park event closes, Ng said.

Launched last year, Boutir and Boutir Collect allow shop owners to create online stores, and users to browse and share items they wish to buy - both within the app and on Facebook.

Social shopping refers to brands that use social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram to engage with consumers and help them share items with - or follow recommendations from - friends.

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The social shopping market was tipped to hit US$30 billion globally by last December, according to Booz and Co.

Ng said Instagram already acts as an online shop for many sellers in Hong Kong, with two of the top five hashtags on the photo-sharing app in the city relating to e-commerce.

Shop owners can create their Boutir stores in around three minutes, the app creators claim, and link to their brand’s social media accounts.

Stores on Boutir can import their existing Instagram pictures to simplify the process of building a catalogue, Ng said.

Shops can pick one of three payment plans on Boutir ranging from a free service for less than 30 transactions a month through the app up to HK$200 (US$25.65) per month for unlimited transactions, including access to analytics.

Boutir is also working with local craft markets to create maps and allow stallholders to build their own online stores so they can keep trading after they pack up for the day.

Boutir is available for both Android and iPhone.