I was shocked (in a good way!) to see that my local Safeway carried Ripple pea-based chocolate milk. It was something I wanted to try, but the thought of actually seeking out the store manager and asking them to stock it never occurred to me.
WeStock is guessing that I’m not alone in my reticence to to make product requests in person. The company officially launched its eponymous app today to help shoppers bypass their shynesss and get the brands they want at their local stores.
“Customers don’t know how much weight they have with the buyer,” Cameron McCarthy, Co-Founder and CEO of WeStock told The Spoon.
To help customers better exert their influence WeStock today launched its mobile app. During the registration, users give WeStock their zip code along with some other information, as well as their preferred store. The app then asks you a series of questions to figure out what brand attributes are important to you: GMO, vegan, fair trade, LGBTQ owned, etc.. WeStock then presents you with a curated list of products from its brand marketplace that best fit those attributes. If there’s a product you like, you tap to indicate that you’re interested in buying it.
WeStock communicates this interest with both the brands and interested retailers. So if Arteasan, for example, sees a number of people in the Seattle area saying they are interested in Focus Yerba Matte Tea, the company can work to get it on store shelves there. Likewise, a neighborhood store could see X number of people want it and start stocking it. Once a store in that zip code starts stocking the brand, WeStock notifies the user of its arrival.
In a couple of weeks, WeStock will be rolling out an update with a store locator so users can see, based on their zip code, which stores in their area stock the product.
“Most small and emerging brands are flying blind,” McCarthy said, “WeStock helps brands map out where you focus your sales efforts.”
WeStock makes money by charging brands a monthly subscription fee of $79 for access to the data the app collects: popularity, location, demographics, preferred store, etc.. WeStock is currently focused on natural and specialty brands, but says it can work with brands of all sizes to help in the development of new lines. For instance, a chip company could list new flavors on WeStock’s market to see which ones attract the most requests and where before going into production.
Retailers can access WeStock’s data for free. According to McCarthy, this is because his company “want[s] to help expedite our brand partners ability to get on the shelf.”
WeStock is currently bootstrapped and carries 100 brands on its platform. The app will initially be for iOS only. We’ve covered a lot of companies like Myxx and Whisk that drive discovery of products through shoppable recipes, but what makes WeStock stand out is that it focuses on getting those ingredients to the stores in the first place, giving brands and retailers more concrete data not about products they are already selling, but the ones they could be selling.