Hong Kong e-commerce start-up Popmap offers universal check-out cart to take the pain out of global shopping sprees

Company lets customers buy from myriad boutiques around the world in a single transaction; promotes itself as a bespoke service offering advice and sending out tailored discounts

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 January, 2016, 2:59pm
UPDATED : Friday, 01 January, 2016, 2:59pm

Online shoppers who prefer shopping at independent boutique shops but are tired of website-hopping will be pleased to hear that Hong Kong-based e-commerce start-up Popmap now offers a universal check-out cart.

Customers can now shop from a list of boutiques around the world and check out all of their items in one transaction with Popmap’s universal shopping cart, regardless of where the stores are located.

A customer can, for example, make a purchase from a shoe store in New Zealand and a necklace from Sweden in the same order without the hassle of two separate transactions. The items will then be shipped separately.

“We’ve expanded the platform into a global marketplace for boutiques, to allow people to shop in any country with just two clicks, into one cart,” said co-founder Idris Sersoub, who said that Popmap’s services were previously limited to local boutiques for customers in Hong Kong.

Customers in Hong Kong who order from local boutiques on the platform will continue to receive their items within the hour by courier.

Sersoub came up with the idea for Popmap while searching for a pair of pearl earrings for his partner. He found window-shopping at different boutique stores to be a hassle.

Popmap also claims to offer slightly lower prices than those advertised by many boutiques to entice more users to shop online.

But it has grander ambitions than just being another e-commerce website, according to Sersoub. He envisions Popmap as a platform giving customers a bespoke online shopping experience.

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On the site, customers can seek help or even shopping suggestions from a Popmap employee through a live chatting platform.

Should customers prefer to browse at a boutique in person, Popmap will also provide details including the location, opening hours and contact information.

Based on customers’ shopping preferences, Popmap will also send out tailored discounts and promotions to them.

To give customers a more unique experience, employees at Popmap curate the list of boutiques that can join the shopping platform, said Sersoub.

“We only select boutiques that we think are relevant for our brand,” he said.

“[We select] good designers, not boutiques that sell things that can be easily found anywhere.”

Popmap works with the select boutiques to list their products online, and introduces them to a shipping partner if needed.

Listing on Popmap is free. The company only charges a commission - of 20 per cent - when a sale is made.

According to Sersoub, Popmap has been growing at a rate of 30 per cent a month. Its top demographic is women aged between 25 and 35.

“Historically, our customers mainly came from Hong Kong since we started [there], but now we have customers from the US and the rest of Asia,” he said.

Customers can also download the company’s Android or iOS app to shop on the go.