Wandrshop lets travellers find the best places to shop

Wandrshop is a free iPhone app for people who love to shop when they travel. There are so many resources for general travel – where to go, how to get there, where to stay, where to eat, what to see and do . . . but there’s still something missing – what about all of the organised information on where to shop? For the initial version, the Wandrshop app features 11 great shopping destinations: Dubai, Hong Kong, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Milan, Munich, New York, Paris and Singapore – and more are on the way soon.  If you love to shop when travelling, then you should enjoy that experience without being overwhelmed by a lack of information – and the Wandrshop team hopes that they can help people to do just that.  The app’s key features include the ability to quickly find essential shops with the shop address, map location, opening hours and brands; see tips and comments from fellow travellers who have been there; plan ahead and save shops, photos and notes in a personal shopping itinerary; share your favourite shops, brands and destinations; and explore new cities, shops, local and luxury brands.  Wandrshop is currently available in five languages: English, Spanish, French, Chinese and Japanese.

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Wandrshop was born out of the passion for shopping that Jaimini Lakhani and her husband have (she’s the traveler, he’s the shopper, just to clarify things here) – so together they make a great team.  Together, they’ve had a number of adventures – everything from being “booted” off local transport to reach remote outlets, finding that special local boutique off the beaten path, to discovering special discounts for visitors.  They’ve spent hours doing research on where to shop before going on holiday – taking note of addresses, operating hours, and the like.  But still, it’s quite often that they turn up only to find the shops either closed or no longer in existence – making the whole ordeal a waste of precious travel time.  But Jaimini and her husband still try and travel to at least ten cities every year, to experience adventure, culture, and of course shopping – and they manage to amaze their friends and family with their unique finds: everything from fashion to home furnishings to unique gifts.  Jaimini’s brother Roger, the other co-founder, has been working with startups for more than two decades, and thus has provided invaluable expertise.  And in addition to being the driving force behind refining the idea and considering all of the commercial and financial aspects of the company, sourcing the development team, and getting feedback from advisers, he’s also caught the shopping bug.

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The inspiration for the app was actually that Jaimini had hoped for years that someone else would come up with an app that fed her need to travel and shop, answering questions such as which shops are must visits in a given city, where are the outlets, how to get there, what are the shop timings, what are the trendy local brands, and are there extra sales or discounts available.  That app never came along for whatever reason, leaving Jaimini to struggle in city after city, and on location she would encounter other travelers with maps, guide books, and their phone in hand – wandering about, trying to find where to shop.  After all, there’s no dearth of resources if you want to book transportation or accommodation while travelling, and plenty of resources for finding out what you can go and see, and where to eat – it’s an endless list that includes apps and websites such as Tripadvisor, Yelp, Skyscanner, Open Table, Booking.com, Hotels.com . . . There are online resources sometimes, but these are often outdated and biased based on the authors interests.  And so she decided to explore the practicalities of building such an app herself, since it would seem as though otherwise it would never come along.  In the process, the Jaimini and Roger found that people love to help startups, and Jaimini continues to be amazed by the number of resources for startups available both online and offline.  But she also admits that starting from nothing and building up the structure and rhythm of a business is a challenge, along with the rather steep learning curve that comes with building an app.

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