BulkWhiz.com is the first bulk grocery e-commerce platform in the region, powered by home-grown artificial intelligence. The platform is currently in its Beta phase with plans to roll-out across the UAE over the next few months. Even so. It’s already managing to revamp traditional grocery shopping with its innovative approaches.
BulkWhiz is a concept born out of a personal challenge that its founder Amira Rashad faced with grocery shopping. As a working mum, she had to often juggle between professional commitments and personal chores. Amidst this, making regular runs for grocery shopping seemed tedious and quite time consuming. Especially with a large family, Rashad wondered if there was a better way to bulk buy everything her family needed. With bulk, you save on money, time and effort, particularly if the items are delivered to your door.
While countries like USA and UK had major retailers to address this challenge, she found that no one in the Middle East could provide bulk buying. With largely premium locations anchoring expensive mall real estate, the last thing retailers wanted to do is occupy valuable shelf space with large size, discounted packages. “Grocery shopping is repetitive and highly inefficient,” expresses Rashad. “I don’t know many moms or dads that enjoy dragging the kids to the supermarket, fighting for a parking spot, standing in long lines or carrying the same heavy items home, only to realise they have forgotten one or two key things every single week! There has to be a better way of doing this.”
Having advised major global retailers in the capacity as a strategy consultant with Booz Allen in NY and London, Rashad realised very quickly that a problem this big and frequent is best addressed through technology. Together with her three co-founders, who brought in deep expertise in artificial intelligence, sourcing and logistics as well as FMCG marketing, she launched BulkWhiz – an e-commerce portal that made bulk buying of grocery possible and more efficient by using artificial intelligence technology.
Shop till you drop!
BulkWhiz simplifies grocery shopping by focusing its assortment and offers on high volume items that are essential to families. Unlike other e-commerce retailers that take the freedom from shelf space limitations as an excuse to inundate consumers with a plethora of SKUs, most which they do not want or need, BulkWhiz realises that shoppers are short of time. It therefore uses technology to curate an assortment of products that are most relevant to them. “With two teenage sons, I am unlikely to want to see offers on diapers. The idea is to showcase products that are best suited to your needs. An example of this is Paleo protein balls, sold in bulk at a 25 per cent saving to stores every day,” explains Rashad.
The AI factor
The differentiating factor of Rashad’s platform is the AI technology that she has integrated into it. She believes that the complicated nature of household consumption decisions and the large number of external factors that can impact those decisions can be simplified using these mechanisms. Speaking of how customers can derive value out of this technology, Rashad says: “Artificial intelligence is the ideal solution to everyone’s grocery shopping problem. By factoring in everything from shopping behaviours to weather patterns, BulkWhiz’s proprietary, home-grown, AI technology helps shoppers optimise household consumption and save money, time and effort. We have heard many shoppers say that the process of having to assemble a list and check out every time they go grocery shopping is painful. That is why BulkWhiz helps you simplify grocery shopping by creating a one time, personalised shopping list of the grocery items you buy constantly. It gives you a simple and user friendly interface to manage your household buying needs with clever features like the ability to snooze or modify orders with one click. The list is powered by technology to help you never run out of key essentials like toilet paper or diapers.”
Such functionality combined with personalised customer service is what sets BulkWhiz apart from its competitors.
Unlike other e-commerce players who either ship through third party freight companies or deliver to your home, BulkWhiz assigns a dedicated ‘Customer Whiz’ to serve your home.
This person will introduce themselves by name, deliver your grocery needs reliably every two weeks and will do everything they can to ensure your satisfaction. Further explaining this innovative approach, Rashad explains: “When you are serving customers for the long run, you need to establish a relationship based on trust. That’s exactly why BulkWhiz will happily accept returns if you are not satisfied. Our customer service philosophy is based on a simple concept: Happy customers buy more.”
BulkWhiz also enables customers to have a smooth check out process. Every customer can save their card details on the platform with the assurance that it provides the highest level of security to protect payment credentials using a technology known as triple tokenisation.
Building the ultimate grocery solution
There’s no doubt that Rashad has managed to build something that has a solid value proposition. The response she has received from users, investors and partners speaks for itself. Over the three-month Beta stage, BulkWhiz has already managed to sign up 1000 households. The company has signed preferential agreements with 50 leading suppliers and has the support of big global brands. That’s not all. Funding is also coming in to fuel its growth. The company’s seed round was oversubscribed even before its launch and several other angel networks are currently in talks to fund the concept.
So, where does BulkWhiz stand currently and what does it have in store for the future? Rashad quickly responds: “BulkWhiz is currently in its Beta phase through a website and mobile app and is due to be released across the UAE imminently. We have a team of 15 members based out of Dubai and Cairo. In 2018, we are looking at regional expansion to key markets like KSA and Egypt, and taking our AI tech to the next level.”
Ready to go shopping anyone?