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This Startup Wants to Get Your Shopping Bags from Store to Door

Sometimes when you’re shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, you find the right product—but it’s just not the right time. Maybe you ducked in on your way to a business meeting and you can’t afford to show up with conspicuous shopping bags in tow.

That’s the scenario that prompted Karin Cabili to found Dropit four years ago. In New York on business, she stumbled across a must-have pair of boots but didn’t have time to drop them at her hotel before her meeting started—and was forced to leave the fancy footwear behind.

That frustrating experience undoubtedly plays out countless times across cities around the globe, but Cabili’s startup wants to make retail “fear of missing out” a thing of the past. In brief, the service allows customers to shop with retail partners, leave their purchases in specially marked Dropit bags and specify when they want their shopping delivered to their home, hotel or office address.

The Dropit app recently launched in London’s West End neighborhood, a tourist haven packed with many of the stores and brands shoppers love. The service is banking on the convenience factor to drive success; lugging around armfuls of bags is one of the least fun parts of a day out at the stores—especially for urban dwellers and tourists without an automobile at their disposal—and could actually deter customers from making additional desired purchases.

For one flat fee of £10 ($13), shoppers can take advantage of a “Dropit day pass” that lets them drop an “unlimited” number of purchases from dozens of participating stores, to be collected into a single delivery fulfilled during the 4.5-hour window of their choosing. Same-day delivery is available anywhere inside London’s M25 beltway, although if it’s too late in the day, purchases will be delivered the following day. Next-day delivery is offered for UK locations outside of London. Shoppers will be notified when deliveries are en route.

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To use Dropit, customers scan the Dropit QR code in store near the point of sale, photograph their receipts, scan the barcode on a see-through Dropit bag, insert their items and seal the bag. Digital Trends reported that the service accepts most products save for breakables.

Inside the Dropit app, there’s an option for users to track the delivery of their purchases, though real-time GPS is not available. There’s also a map displaying the location of all nearby participating Dropit retailers, furthering brand discovery and potentially driving foot traffic. Launch partners include Adidas, Coach, Tory Burch, Jimmy Choo, Uniqlo, lululemon, French Connection, Michael Kors, Stuart Weitzman, Topshop and Urban Outfitters.

At a time when “convenience” is most associated with online shopping, a service like Dropit could offer a better physical shopping experience and encourage store visits. The Dropit bags feature the usual “connect with us” social icons: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram—and Chinese platforms WeChat and Weibo, which speaks to how important spend-happy tourists from the world’s second-largest economy are to the health of many Western retailers.