Boutir named top startup at Retail’s Cutting Edge
Boutir, a mobile app that enables retailers and individuals to set up an online store in just three minutes, was chosen as top retail tech startup at Retail’s Cutting Edge in Hong Kong yesterday.
The award, which followed two rounds of judging by independent panels, capped off a hugely successful event, part of InvestHK’s StartmeupHK festival running this week.
Boutir allows online retailers to manage their product listing, inventory, customers and transactions through a mobile app. Sellers pay a monthly licensing fee to use the technology.
Founded in Hong Kong, which accounts for 68 per cent of its customers, the company is now expanding its reach into Southeast Asia, the US and Taiwan, founder ERic Ng told the audience in a five-minute pitch.
Already, Boutir has 26,000 merchants signed up, selling an estimated 390,000 products.
Runners-up in the pitch fest were custom eyewear concept 3DNA, which produces technology creating a 3D scan of a person’s face before allowing them to design their own eyewear frames using sustainable materials, and MobiJuce, an app-based mobile phone charging concept allowing people on the move to hire rechargers from stations inside retail stores.
Millennials show some tough love
In a day packed with inspiring presentations, more than 500 delegates to Retail’s Cutting Edge heard speakers talk about disruptive technology in areas of payments, marketing and in-store executions.
One of the highlights was an on-stage research forum featuring 14 millennials in an unscripted question and answer session led by Tofugear retail analyst Tiffany Lung. Some of the answers were not necessarily what retailers in the audience wanted to hear. Asked what their favourite retail experience was in Hong Kong, the panel fell silent.
“I had a hard time remembering my favourite store. That tells me want something different,” responded one.
When it comes to online shopping, many of the panel agreed free shipping was a key driver.
“I usually buy from websites offering free shipping,” said one. “If I have to pay for shipping, I usually go somewhere else to buy the product.”
Another shared a personal trick to ensure he didn’t pay for P&P. “When I shop on Asos I always order more than HKD1500 worth of goods to get free shipping, then I ship back half the stuff I don’t want.”
Other presenters included SC Beauty founder Leza Parker, from Singapore, who told delegates that her online beauty business no longer used email to market to customers.
“Consumers are much less comfortable about giving out their email addresses to companies because they want to use email to talk to their friends and families. People don’t want to receive commercial marketing emails anymore.”
The alternative, she said, is social media which retailers should embrace as the primary means of connection.
- Extensive coverage of Retail’s Cutting Edge will be published in the spring edition of Inside Retail Hong Kong magazine, including selected speaker presentations, startup profiles and a photo gallery. Ensure you don’t miss out by subscribing online to the print or digital editions.