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Grabr App Connects Travelers to Online Shoppers

It’s not easy to shop the storefronts of Paris, France, if you’re at home in Paris, Kentucky. For people who really want something they saw on a store shelf during a trip abroad, the creators of the iOS app Grabr hope to connect that desire with travelers in a position to make that purchase on someone’s behalf.

Grabr’s basic function permits a user of the app to submit a “grab” for something they wish to buy. The shopper can post a link to the item or create a manual order description for what they want and where to find it. Grabr also lists a collection of curated choices for shoppers to browse.

Once the shopper posts what they want, a Grabr user in the country where an item can be found who is travelling to the shopper’s country may choose to participate and buy the item on the shopper’s behalf (they are called “travelers”). Shoppers can offer a “travel reward” to the traveler for making and delivering that purchase, and they also pay Grabr a seven percent service fee for their grabs when fulfilled.

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“After you (the shopper) accept a delivery offer you like, our payment processor Stripe will put your payment for the item and traveler reward on hold. Your traveler uses their own funds to pay for your item at first. After you confirm they delivered your item, Stripe will release your payment to the traveler,” Grabr’s FAQ noted.

Grabr’s Daria Rebenok gave EcommerceBytes a quick overview of global demand and supply markets the company has seen so far. The most popular destinations for demand include Southeast Asia locations like Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Several trendy names represent popular supply markets: San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Houston, and Miami in the US, and European locales Berlin, Frankfurt, London, and Paris.

“We see Grabr as a big player that would be changing ecommerce space and shaping new layers on top of it, opening up borders and making access to global various goods easy and accessible,” said Rebenok. “Our (peer to peer) marketplace offers access to any goods around the world for shoppers. For smaller retailers – access to global markets with a completely new form of delivery.”

Anyone with a cursory familiarity of importing goods probably wonders how Grabr deals with the challenges international ecommerce represents. To Grabr’s credit they have published one of the more extensive FAQs one might hope to find anywhere.

Grabr appears to have addressed the spectrum of questions a reasonable shopper would have about the service. Over at Men’s Journal writer Dylan Love presented a first-hand experience making a purchase from Russia, and is a worthwhile read about using Grabr.

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David A Utter

David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR’s “All Things Considered” with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.

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