Klikkapromo is an Italian company founded about two years ago by an Italian entrepreneur and specialized into the promotion search engine market (such as shoplocal.com in the US and kaufda.de in Germany). Klikkapromo is offering final customers the possibility to find out in a given geographical area where the best deal can be closed; in other words, where customers can register the higher savings on the products they would like to purchase.
Virtual stores are expanding quite rapidly in the retail industry. At the beginning, there was Tesco with its home plus virtual store in Korea; then, many other retailers (for example, Woolworths, Well.ca, Ocado, John Lewis, Sears, and Peapod) have started to recreate the same experience across different geographies. These virtual stores, even if they may sell different products, show many common elements. In general, they are built in high flow locations (typically underground stations, bus stops, airports), where mock shelf displays (with QR codes under each product) are recreated. Moreover, to fully take advantage of the virtual store experience, a mobile app has to be developed and released for customer usage.
This morning, while I was in the Milan subway on my way to the office, I noticed something that at a first glance could look like a virtual store. In an advertising space, rather than being affixed a traditional product advertising (for example, the one of a brand new car), there was an image of a store shelf with some products on it with a QR code (please see figure attached). At a very first impression, I was really surprised and I told myself "Eventually, we got of virtual store also in Italy!". While I was approaching the billboard, I was wondering in my mind who could have been the retailer launching such a peculiar and new to the country initiative: was it Esselunga? Conad? Carrefour? Coap? Conad? However, when I came near I noticed that it was not a virtual store! On the contrary, it was a traditional advertising of a new company: Klikkapromo. I was surprised to notice that, but at the same time I was curious to better understand what is Klikkapromo. So, when I got to the office, I looked for some information and, actually, even if Klikkapromo is not a virtual store, it is a really interesting reality.
Klikkapromo is an Italian private company still in its start-up phase - founded by Luciano Mazzone - that is active into the promotion search engine market (such as shoplocal.com in the US and kaufda.de in Germany). According to their company description, their goals are to:
- Help consumers to save money (up to 50%)
- Making the shopping more comfortable
- Reduce communication costs of promotions
Klikkapromo allows customers to have access to all the promotions in place in a set of stores (supermarkets and hypermarkets) within a preselected geographical area. Customers, once on the website (Klikkapromo.it) or through a mobile app can select all the products that are relevant for them, put them into a virtual "wish list", and perform a search. The result is a list (either online or on the mobile phone) of all the stores in the selected area, where the best deal can be closed, e.g. where customers can register the higher savings on the products they selected.
Of course, the solution is far from being complete. Some limitations - mostly due to the newness and the early youth of the entrepreneurial project - still exist, the most significant of which are reported in the following bulleted list:
- The service is accessible only in few Italian cities, namely: Milan, Rome, Turin, Bologna, Florence, Naples, and Palermo. A higher geographical coverage is needed in the future.
- The service allows a customer to compare promotions from different retailer (Esselunga, Carrefour, Panorama, Conad Leclerc, Ipercoap, Auchan, and Sigma). As a starting point it good, but the number of retailers monitored has to increase over time and become much more granular
- Up to now, the products of the following companies are included into the project: Barilla, Mulino Bianco, Dixan, Ferrero, Findus, Pampers, and Parmalat. Their number is still limited: more companies should be added to that list, so that a customer can compare not only the same product across different stores, but also similar products.
- The merchandise categories could be further increased. At the moment, the following categories are part of the project: biscuits, coffee, pasta, oil, cheese, frozen food, canned tuna, soft drinks, nappy, detergent for use in washing, yogurt, milk, rice, and water.