Late last week SanomaVentures announced its first investment of this year: Wugly.nl. Wugly.nl helps consumers find information on local shops based on the experiences of others. After a very active 2013 we can probably expect a good amount of further investments by SanomaVentures in months to come.
Wugly was launched in 2010 to bank on the power of ‘social proof’. Consumers are increasingly basing their purchase decisions on experiences of others. The site caters to this demand by offering a platform where you can read and write independent reviews on local shops. Over the past three years, Wugly has collected close to a half a million reviews, making it the largest database of independent consumer store reviews in the Netherlands.
Besides the usual combination of additional financial firepower and media exposure the SanomaVentures investment also adds some synergies to the startup. Founder Frank Quix: “Together with Sanoma’s well known product comparison site Kieskeurig.nl, we can now offer consumers even better information in their search for the right local shop. We can also provide our business customers with greater added value in terms of analytics and reach.”
Online and offline shopping – clicks & bricks – are becoming more and more intertwined. A growing number of webshops are also opening offline locations, while ‘brick’ shops are increasingly using electronic marketing solutions and offering online ordering options. Sanoma sees attractive opportunities in bridging online and offline shopping. Herman Kienhuis, Investment Director at SanomaVentures: “Combining offline and online shopping offers new opportunities. Wugly has built up a valuable platform with shop reviews that can play an important role in this.”
The investment will (among other things) cover the launch of an updated and mobile optimized website and apps. It will also expand the services for customers with respect to research and marketing. “Examples of this include the white label option, the integration of reviews on the retailer website, and the link to Business Intelligence tools,” explains Erwin de Haan, Commercial Manager at Wugly.
Photo: PhilipC @ Wikimedia Commons