Bridging the gap between online and offline

By Junior Bester Time of article published Nov 28, 2011

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South Africa’s retail sector is set for an innovation that will end the need to personally visit shops for big purchases.

Ric Meulemans, the founder of shopping website Guzzle – which has been in operation for two months – said: “My dream for the next 18 months is to bridge the gap between the online and offline customers by making it possible for people to purchase items online and have them delivered to their door.”

This would make the relationship between customer and retailer a lot more easier, he added.

The site currently offers customers the best price comparisons for items such as television sets, fridges and iPads from various stores such as Makro and Game.

“The site is unique as we not only tell you the prices but we take all the catalogues and dissect them until we are able to find the cheapest prices for specific models of major appliances.”

However, Meulemans and his business partner Oliver Bryant aim to modify the site to enable people to shop via their smartphones.

The idea is to have Guzzle partnering with retailers and introducing print electronic bar codes called “pr codes”.

The customer then sees the bar code on the brochure they receive in newspapers and simply takes a picture using a smartphone.

This allows access to an interactive catalogue where they can purchase the item of their choice.

Meulemans said Guzzle had attracted interest from many of South Africa’s major retailers for its service.

Discussions were currently under way with retailers, he said. - Weekend Argus

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