Instead, Little Birdie aims to help consumers discover trending products, easily compare similar products from different brands and track prices to find the offer that best meets their needs before redirecting them to the retailer’s website to complete the transaction.
“We see Little Birdie as being the new homepage of shopping,” Beros, Little Birdie’s CEO, told Inside Retail.
“The core [benefit] for the consumer is they don’t have to do the legwork of opening multiple tabs to find the right retailer, the right product, read reviews and check pricing. With Little Birdie, it’s all in one place.”
The idea has gotten buy-in from Catch Group co-founders Gabby and Hezi Leibovich, who hold a minority stake in Little Birdie, and Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which invested $30 million in the startup in May, valuing the company at $130 million.
“At the time, it was the largest investment in an Australian startup prior to launching a product,” Beros noted.
Price tracking and machine learning
Little Birdie is built on a powerful recommendation engine that can analyse vast quantities of data using deep machine learning to surface the best deals and most sought-after products across categories to the top of the platform in real time.
The site also features unique price-tracking technology that enables consumers to see historical prices for every product on the platform and receive alerts when prices drop, so they can be confident they’re always getting a good deal.
“In regards to the technology we’re using, we’re breaking completely new ground,” Beros said.
He credits the innovation around product discovery to the founding team’s experience at Catch Group.
“If you look at Catch and some of the other businesses [in the group], they started with that inspirational offer, where you place a product, a sale, or an experience in front of a customer who may not have been planning on buying anything when they woke up in the morning, but it was just [seeing] a great price and great brand at the right time that triggered the sale.”
Beros was general manager of Catch Group’s Scoopon and Bon Voyage businesses until 2018, and Proud, who is Little Birdie’s CTO and COO, was general manager of operations at Catch.com.au until 2020. Kalman Polak, Little Birdie’s e-commerce specialist, was head of sales at Catch.com.au until 2020, and Guy Polak, Little Birdie’s head of partnerships and distribution, was head of buying at Catch.com.au until 2020.
According to Beros, the platform will continue to improve the more users engage with it. Shoppers can further personalise the products and deals they see by creating an account and following brands and retailers. They’ll also get access to exclusive deals that are only available to Little Birdie members.
As part of CommBank’s investment in the platform, Little Birdie will be able to market directly to the bank’s 11 million app users.
How it works for retailers
Making it easier for consumers to shop online is just one part of Little Birdie’s value proposition. The other part is helping brands and retailers reach those consumers.
“It’s getting more competitive online. There are a lot more players in the online space, and it’s getting harder and harder for retailers to acquire customers,” Beros said.
Little Birdie plans to leverage its enormous product range and marketing initiatives, such as its partnership with CommBank, to attract millions of shoppers to its site and help them find products they didn’t even know they wanted to buy. When shoppers are ready to check out, it will redirect them to the product page on the retailer’s site.
“When the customer lands on the retailer’s site, they are a qualified shopper with an intent to buy. If they make a transaction, the retailer pays Little Birdie a fee, so it’s a complete performance model,” Beros said.
“Think of us like Google and Facebook. We’re part of a retailer’s marketing distribution mix.”
In this way, Little Birdie is different to online marketplaces, such as Amazon, Catch, MyDeal, The Iconic, SurfStitch, Myer, Bunnings and now even Barbeques Galore, which may help brands and retailers reach new customers, but also handle transactions on their own platform, and therefore control access to valuable customer data.
“I think that’s why Little Birdie has been so well received,” Beros said. “The retailer is able to capture the customer data.”
Beros described the Little Birdie site that launched on Tuesday as “a minimum viable product”.
“Although we’re extremely proud of what we’ve been able to build, and you can see that it’s resonating with customers and retailers already, it is only the start. There are many more features and functionality to come,” he said.
The startup plans to launch mobile apps in future, as well as scale the platform internationally.
“We’ve built some amazing businesses, but we’ve only done it in Australia,” he said about the founding team.
“One of the ambitions of all of us is to take a business global, which Little Birdie is set up to do.”