We all love a sale – but what if we could access cheap, in-season products all year round from hundreds of retailers in one place?
This utopia is a reality thanks to Stuart McClure (pictured below), whose Love the Sales site pulls together sales from over 800 retailers onto one site for easy shopping.
The seed of the idea was sown after he became a dad at age 18 and became frustrated when trying to source good quality presents cheaply.
“When you’re young you’ve got no money or career, so I used to shop sales literally all the time – not just go to a couple of websites but really go for it,” he tells BusinessCloud. “Then I realised there’s got to be a better way of doing it.”
A few years later he teamed up with friend Mark Solomon to found Love the Sales and they brought on board developer David Bishop as CTO. The team calculated that it would take at least 10 years for four people to categorise all of their products accurately.
“Normal retailers have to catalogue say 2,000 products and so have a team of people who would say ‘this is a jumper, it’s this colour and this size’ for all the attributes. If you do that for millions of products it’s a never-ending task,” says McClure.
Love the Sales’ self-developed AI tech finds retailers’ products and automatically categorises them. It then pushes them in front of relevant people. “What you’d look for in a shoe would be very different to what I’d look for,” McClure explains.
This might sound similar to the ‘products related to this’ service currently offered by many other eCommerce sites, but McClure says it’s smarter than that.
“People want to discover things so our AI system takes three sets of information into account,” he says. “Firstly user behaviour, then people who are similar to them. Then, because we’re like a marketplace, it allows for a competitive edge for retailers.”
Love the Sales is based at WeWork in Old Street
Love the Sales takes into account conversions, clicks and whether people are looking at its products when directing customers to retailers.
Using the example of someone buying a Ralph Lauren polo shirt, McClure says the site might flag up the product at 100 alternative retailers a customer has never heard of.
“People think we’re like TK Maxx or Secret Sales but we’re not really: those guys deal with old stock bought from a retailer that can’t shift it whereas with us you’ve got this season’s stuff. You may buy Ralph Lauren from House of Fraser and pay full price, but we might have it on sale.”
Love the Sales is looking to raise funding and expand into higher-end sites. This is a market that has been notoriously wary of cheapening their brands by appearing on aggregator sites.
“We help retailers protect their brand,” McClure says. “They have to have sales but don’t want to be seen as selling all the time so they have to get someone else to.
“They also want to make money and maybe don’t want to get rid of stock to TK Maxx or places like that, or maybe want to drive new customers. We can do that as they don’t have to advertise on their own site.”