Offline shopping in South Africa is set to receive a boost with a new application designed to drive shoppers to local stores.
Unlike the concept of a traditional shopping application that focuses on e-commerce, MiBrand is designed to drive consumers to brick and mortar stores.
“We aim to drive people into malls and stores. We want to enhance both the shopping experience and businesses foot traffic,” developer Salvatore Barras told Fin24 about the application.
MiBrand will launch on mobile store listings this week and Barras said it solved a key problem.
“We got tired of being faced with the problem of not having an efficient connection to stores in our community. So MiBrand was born, the app is designed to make it easy to connect to everything nearby.”
The developers have ambitious plans to help business owners in shopping malls map customer traffic.
“When you walk into a mall your live feed will display all of the specials in the mall. We are also planning to incorporate a mall GPS similar to Google Maps to help navigate a mall and measure foot traffic at different locations in the mall,” said Barras.
The application is free to use but merchants pay between R300 to R500 to post specific content.
There are four tabs in the application: Live Feed, Discover Grid, MiBrand and My Cart which all help consumers follow favourite retailers and find specials.
Barras added that they use analytics tools to measure the size of the local community.
MiBrand has raised more than R1m in startup funding. Barras said that they have big plans for the platform.
“We will eventually incorporate in-app purchases. We are aiming at making it possible to access the entire mall, with all its shops and products from your phone. Over time, features will be added, for now didn’t want to overdo it.”
According to the South African Council of Shopping Centres, there are 2 000 shopping centres in SA, the 6th highest number of shopping centres in the world.
An Ispsos survey reported that South African shoppers spent R28.8bn online in 2015, which is expected to grow to R46bn by 2017, of which mobile will account for R19bn.