Snapette Acquired by PriceGrabber

Location-based app adds commerce to increase conversion.

Price comparison shopping site PriceGrabber scooped up location-based app Snapette, which taps into the smartphones of on-the-go consumers and updates them on new deliveries, sales and events at nearby stores.

This story first appeared in the August 20, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The deal should help broaden the reach of Snapette, which already has more than 1.5 million active users and works with 225 brands and retailers. PriceGrabber is owned by CPL Holdings LLC and works with more than 12,000 merchants and sellers across North and South America and the U.K. Combined with its distribution partners, PriceGrabber drives more than $1 billion in sales. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Snapette raised a $1.5 million seed round in October 2011, following the introduction of a beta version that was introduced in August 2011, according to cofounders Sarah Paiji and Jinhee Kim. The app launched officially in June 2012.

Paiji told WWD that Snapette has a “healthy mix” of national retailers (including Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Guess and Nine West) and smaller boutiques like New York City’s Otte; Big Drop (in New York and Miami Beach), and Satine (in Los Angeles). She maintains that the “contemporary” category is the app’s strength — listing brands like Diane von Furstenberg, Theory, Rebecca Minkoff and Steven Alan as popular with users. There are currently 12 cities where the app recruits boutiques to participate: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Miami, Seattle, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Madrid.

Snapette will integrate e-commerce capabilities later this week — transforming the app from a technology that drives foot traffic into stores to a tool that brings together the online and offline shopping experiences.

“When we first started, the focus was almost entirely on local and driving people into stores and interrupting them while they’re in store,” Paiji said, noting it was difficult to measure conversion since some women turned on to a look by Snapette might pass it by in the store only to buy it later online. Now they can make purchases directly through the app.

“The big theme in the past 12 months has been around the omnichannel shopper,” Paiji said. “By just proving a local component, we were losing a lot of conversion opportunities. If they are ready to buy, we want to make sure they can also buy from that retailer.”