Let dropa retail technology platform that bridges the digital divide by unifying merchants’ online and in-store inventories has raised $25 million in a Series C funding round.
Dropit, founded in 2014, counts in addition to shopping centers also retail brands such as L’Occitane, Abercrombie & Fitch and Estee Lauder as customers. At its core, Dropit is all about enabling brands to sell their store inventory online, essentially turning brick-and-mortar points of sale into something akin to a local distribution center – customers buy their goods digitally, with Dropit’s ‘smart sourcing’ technology the nearest physical location to the customer where the goods are located and ship accordingly.
So even if a brand or point of sale already has an online inventory for specific goods, Dropit brings their offline inventory into the mix and puts everything together to speed up delivery and minimize the impact of shipping goods from further afield.
In addition, a key selling point for mall retailers is that Dropit can also merge a mall’s entire brand network into a single online marketplace. This is especially important at a time when pedestrian traffic in shopping center has yet to fully recover post-pandemic, because it means that the malls can generate sales 24 hours a day, regardless of in-person visits, while allowing customers to buy from multiple outlets at the same time.
At the heart of Dropit’s platform are integrations – it can connect to any point in the sales or fulfillment chain, which is one of the reasons Dropit founder and CEO Karin Cabili says it’s not in direct competition with any other internal or external retailer. system, be it Shopify or any other ecommerce platform.
“Dropit has set itself the goal of solving a macro problem created by retail double inventory and the lack of opportunities to combine local store presence with last-mile delivery,” Cabili told australiabusinessblog.com. “One of our key strengths is unifying data and systems. In addition, we’ve built integrations with many systems, including Shopify, which has done a great job in e-commerce, creating an easy-to-use platform recommended for SMBs.”
By integrating with multiple third-party carriers, Dropit enables brands and malls to offer same-day or next-day shipping for both in-store and online transactions, although pickup is also offered. It also allows merchants to consolidate their deliveries and pick-ups to minimize split shipments.
“Dropit’s mission is to solve a core problem of efficient optimization for retail, and to ensure that the level of service to the customer is not compromised,” Cabili added.
For example, a retailer looking to use Dropit as part of its existing tech stack can deploy Dropit between the orders, warehouses, point of sale (POS) and e-commerce (e.g. Shopify) systems on the one hand, and the cash registers, payments and couriers on the other side. The retailer can decide for themselves what value they want to get from Dropit, for example they just want fulfillment and capacity for pick-and-pack in a store, and pick-up or delivery via courier.
“Dropit connects to existing systems to fill gaps without the need to invest additional capital or technology resources,” explains Cabilit.
It’s worth noting that in addition to the backend for retailers and shopping malls, Dropit is also a consumer-oriented mobile app for shoppers who like to shop in person, but don’t want to carry bags with them. So basically they search for participating stores through the app, shop as usual, but when they get to the (physical) checkout, they scan a small QR code from Dropit at the outlet and select where they want their bags delivered.
Since its launch six years ago, Dropit has steadily gained ground in Europe and North America. And last year it was incorporated by means of primary in power in Canada Primarché, touted as ‘the world’s first multi-mall, multi-brand marketplace’ – essentially bringing Primaris’ national shopping center network into a single online entity. This separates Dropit from something like Mall of America (MOA) in Bloomington, Minnesota, which has created a similar online marketplace, but for stores in one mall.
Dropit had previously raised $25 million in two as-yet-undisclosed funding rounds in 2016 and 2018, and with a new $25 million in the bank, the company is well-funded to expand in its existing markets with plans to grow specifically in the US where it already has an office in Austin, Texas.
Dropit’s Series C round was led by Vault Investments, with participation from Tiga Investments, Axentia, Sugarbee and others, including former Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren, who sits on Dropit’s board of directors.