Mobile Commerce

Digital Concierge ‘Operator’ Launches In App Store

Online shopping concierge app, Operator, launched today to compete with the “digital butler” services of tech giants like Amazon and Facebook, Financial Times reported yesterday (Nov. 5).

The app, which was created by Uber cofounder Garrett Camp and Robin Chan, brings on-demand concierge services, like booking travel or buying gifts, to users just by messaging on a smartphone.

The main difference between this online shopping app and others?

Operator wants to do things a little different by being the app that helps consumers do their shopping for them — and with an actual person helping.

Operator, which refers to itself as a “request network,” uses actual people to fulfill customer requests. Operator uses technology to harness algorithms to match customer demands, but it goes beyond that by giving the app a human touch by allowing consumers to interact with them.

Operator’s merchant partners pay a fee to do so and also provide the human experts who communicate with customers via text.

“We are trying to build a front door to the commerce experience through messaging,” CEO Robin Chan told FT.

 With a focus on fulfilling more unique and hard-to-get requests, Chan added that the app specializes in things that are “not something you can just hunt and peck in Google or Amazon.”

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