As useful as data can be in helping businesses to eliminate waste improve efficiency, the reality is that products (such as food) have and will continue to linger on the shelves as customers pass by. Danish startup YourLocal may not be able to total eliminate waste, but they have developed a system that allows businesses to cut down on it by connecting with customers.
The concept behind YourLocal is that, as goods (like food) begin to expire, stores can reach out to customers with discounts, so that the items do not end up going to waste, by taking a photo of the item, adding some text, and then posting. Users receive a push notification if they “follow” a particular store, but they will also see the discounts in their feed if they are in the vicinity. YourLocal does not allow users to purchase anything through the app, but they can sometimes reserve the item. YourLocal is ideal for stores, such as grocery stores, that sell items with expiration dates, but they also work with cinemas, beauty salons, masseurs, and other businesses.
YourLocal has not yet monetized their service, but revealed to me that they are currently talking with several supermarket chains about about a subscription service that would include analytics and promotions. They are currently considering letting smaller businesses access the service for free, while charging the fee to the bigger players, but nothing is set in stone.
YourLocal launched its apps, available for Android and iOS, in June 2015 and tells me that they have picked up 45,000 users, based primarily in Copenhagen and Aarhus, and partner with 350 shops. Funding thus far has come from a victory in the SEED Discovery Day pitching competition, which delivered them a small, but undisclosed, amount. Thus far, the startup has been able to get the platform with a team of volunteers providing everything from legal advice to data analysis and they have already begun expanding internationally, recently launching in Sweden. Going forward, they are aiming to move into the rest of Europe, possibly including Turkey.