Business Technology

Christmas miracle? This tech company helps independent retailers grow

7 min read

28 December 2018

Reporter, Real Business

A growing tech company offers an online marketplace for independent retailers to sell their goods. Will businesses like this save them from extinction?

Trouva is an SME on the move. But it’s not only looking out for itself. It’s after impact, and in particular, helping independent retailers survive in the consumer economy.

Recently named one of the five fastest-growing tech businesses in the UK, the business is on a mission to reinvigorate consumer passion for independent retailers, on a global scale.

Trouva could boost sales for independent retailers

As a curated online marketplace for the best independent bricks-and-mortar shops, it uses technology to allow customers around the world to access unique consumer goods provided by boutique stores across various metropolitan locations.

Bringing international consumer interest to local goods, customers from all over the world can literally “shop local” from new stores in Amsterdam, Madrid and Copenhagen.

All consumers have to do is choose the products they like via the click of a button, no matter where the boutique is.

Festive success for Trouva

This December the folks at Trouva have a lot to celebrate.

Apart from the general, to-be-expected festive jubilations of the season, Trouva has a new executive. His name is Niall Wass and he’s joined the Trouva team in a non-executive director and Chair role.

Having gained digital fast-growth experience from his time at Uber and digital betting behemoth Betfair, his job is to scale the company for its next phase of growth following its $10 million Series A funding round last year.

Trouva as an impact business

By December 2019, we may well see Trouva as the answer to global shopping of local goods.

“Trouva allows users to find unique products from curated independent boutiques. This is quite unlike the normal high street experience in that customers can own or gift items that are otherwise hard to find.” – Niall Wass, Trouva

Remember what I said earlier about Trouva being an impact business? Well, it’s true.

They are not content with merely being the facilitator for local boutiques to meet the needs of global customers. They want to help independent businesses grow and upscale from the inside out.

“As well as providing great user experience, Trouva will also help boutiques manage their business and enable international expansion,” Wass continues.

Will this affect the high-street further?

Whilst some may argue that digitising the independent retail experience signifies the final death knell for the existence of physical shops, I don’t believe that will be the case.

There will always be consumers, especially in city locations, who will continue to visit independent retailers as a recreational activity.

Furthermore, by going at least partly online, and connecting to platforms with global consumers, independent retail businesses have more chance of surviving in the future. As they will no longer be solely reliant on their local community for custom.

Bringing local shopping to global consumers

From its UK origins, Trouva first expanded its reach when the company added Berlin-based boutiques to their books in early 2018.

Following its expansion into the three other European cities mentioned earlier, the business now boasts connections with 100 real-life independent retailers.

These recent expansions will allow the company’s global customer base to have access to more than 100,000 unique boutique based products on the platform.

These items include everything from design-led homeware and lifestyle products to menswear.

In terms of unique USPs, Trouva has a hell of a lot of them.

This includes the fact that it is giving customers from around the world greater access to quality goods without the expense of travel.

Testimony from an associated retailer

We hear from one independent retailer in Copenhagen who feels his business has benefitted from being on the global marketplace:

“Trouva has had a significant impact on our business very quickly. Since joining the platform over 2 months ago, we’ve already seen a 15% uplift in revenue. For a long time, I’ve wanted to hire another permanent member of staff to grow our in-store team and the incremental sales from Trouva have allowed me to do this.” – Jonas Sand Kristensen, Townsfolk boutique

“It truly is our window to a wider world, helping us to reach a whole new audience. In the last two weeks alone, we’ve had orders from seven countries including the US, Australia, Switzerland, and the UK,” he continues.

Words from the co-founder

“At a time where the looming prospect of Brexit might be hanging over most UK-founded and based starups, it’s business as usual for us, and that means rapid growth”, says co-founder and CEO of Trouva Mandeep Singh.

“The number of our boutiques that have achieved over £100,000 in sales directly through Trouva.com has almost quadrupled from 11 to 42 in just 12 months, further extending our platform to the most amazing independents, run by great curators with a strong identity,” he continues.

“We’re uniting everything that’s great about shopping independently on our global platform, and we’re looking to drive growth across the entire business, which is why we’re thrilled to bring Niall on board with his vast experience in leading significant business transformation and growth strategies.”

Christmas cheer for independent retailers

Business innovators such as Trouva prove that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Independent shop owners don’t have to resign themselves to extinction.

Instead, they can innovate the valuable assets they already have, such as the provision of unique goods. But they must engage with digital processes in order to get those goods out to a wider market.

All they need is a platform to amplify what they already offer, namely unique high-quality products, and marketplace platforms like Trouva can help them do just that.