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Start-up report: Viewsy – in-store analytics

In this first of our series of posts on exciting start-ups, we interview Odera Ume-Ezeoke, founder of Viewsy.

Viewsy aims to revolutionise in-store analytics the way that Google Analytics has transformed web analytics.

Viewsy, despite its small size has already been recognised by IBM as a business to watch, by picking up one of IBM’s Smart Camp awards.

With many of our clients operating both online and in-stores, we were keen to find out from Odera what his technology can do for store retailers.

AWA: How does the technology work and how reliable is it?

Odera: Our sensor technology works by listening to ambient phone signals to determine customer behaviour and movement around commercial spaces — for example at retail locations or at events. Our analytics engine builds statistics on the back of the raw location data.

Like all analytics technologies, Viewsy sensors capture a sample of the total customer population: this capture rate can vary from 15% to 90% (depending on the environment), but is often around 50-60%.

AWA: How did you get the idea and what made you want to go into the analytics business?

Odera: It came about from my time at Groupon. I saw the demand from customers for accurate information on customer behaviour after a deal and saw the need through this for our solution.

Retailers would ask ‘how do I know I haven’t just given an 80% discount to already loyal customers’. Or they would ask ‘how do I know a person will come back after a deal is offered?’.

Clients had no data on the effect of discounts on their long-term business — did incentivizing customers drive loyal behaviour, did it change the make-up of the customers, how effective were discounts on bringing new customers in the door?

Analytics is a science of knowledge and insight. We have seen the impact of analytics most clearly in the online world, whether at Amazon’s e-commerce platform or Google’s product suite. The incredible growth of the tech economy – both in terms of what company’s build and how they run their businesses – is built on analytics. Now we want to bring the analytics revolution offline.

AWA: How likely is that the technology becomes mainstream?

Odera: There is no question that the structures and methods that currently exist online will be bridged into the offline world. This is already happening – whether you look at location services like FourSquare, in media content platforms, or the many offline markets being brought into ecommerce.

The question is what precisely this infrastructure will look like. Our current play is in WiFi technology — we believe that WiFi technology offers high-levels of precision and identification (versus GPRS or GSM), but is also passive and frictionless (versus NFC).

AWA: What are the main benefits to retailers?

Odera: We enable retailers to finally understand the patterns of customer behaviour offline. Viewsy provides the missing link in omnichannel marketing.

Retailers can follow foot-traffic through the store, understand how long visitors spend shopping and where in their store, understand dynamics between different stores in their business, and manage information on customer satisfaction in-store.

They can tie this information to events, campaigns, or promotions they are running. Retailers can expect real-time information on queuing lines, browsing time, and abandonment rate. They can set benchmarks to improve performance and measure impact of business changes – in operations, marketing, or store management.

Retailers can now manage their real loyalty rate. They may already have a loyalty scheme, but with Viewsy they can passively measure loyalty regardless of whether the customer has opted-in to a loyalty scheme and regardless of whether they make any purchases.

Conversion metrics become more advanced with Viewsy. Determine the conversion of passing foot traffic to in-store visits, the proportion of customers who are engaged, or even calculate traditional conversion statistics by department.

The Viewsy platform is extremely versatile, with a wide-range of applications in different verticals and departments. We work closely with all of our clients to identify their business value drivers and support them in building metrics and performance targets on the back of Viewsy location data.

AWA: What are you currently working on and do you have any success stories that you can share?

Odera: Viewsy was recently installed across a large retail estate, where the technology was used to identify a 57% relationship between dwell time and loyalty behaviour. This enabled the retailer to increase revenue by over 10% through optimisation of dwell times in store.

We are currently working with a large events operator who has already used our platform to increase advertising revenue by over 15%. We have recently agreed a deal to help a global fashion brand understand the ROI from their offline marketing.

AWA: Thanks for your time, Odera

Odera: You’re welcome.

Please leave a comment and let us know how you think the Viewsy platform could help your business.

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