Scalable Agile Solutions for Startups
It’s a common problem for startups – they want to hit the ground running with an innovative IT project but they lack the time, resources and budget to hire full-time staff to make their vision a reality within their desired time frame.
This has led to the increased popularity of IT Outsourcing. IT Outsourcing has a multitude of benefits for businesses of any size, but for start-ups the advantages are:
- Relieve the pressure on small IT teams allowing them to focus on other aspects of the business
- Expand IT capabilities with specialized skill sets
- Dedicated resources allowing for faster time-to-market of products and services
- Quicker ramp up time by eliminating the need for hiring, on-boarding and training of new staff members
- Efficiently scale teams up or down with ease based on needs and requirements
The IoT Opportunity
E-Commerce retailers are able to capture an abundance of data, allowing them to provide their consumers with a personalized shopping experience; but the same cannot be said for brick-and-mortar stores which is why some analysts think that their future looks bleak. However, this outlook is quickly changing with the growing popularity of the Internet of Things (IoT).
IoT has the potential to transform the in-store experience bridging the gap between the digital and physical world. By connecting people, assets, devices and systems, retailers can now deliver the same amount of personalization in-store as they do online – to seamlessly provide an omnichannel experience that increases consumer loyalty and engagement.
The tricky part for many in-store retailers lies in the how:
- How to easily capture personalized information from in-store activity?
- How to use this data effectively to create user personas and targeted real-time offers?
- And most importantly, how to accomplish this with limited disruption and financial investment?
By connecting people, assets, devices and systems, retailers can deliver the same amount of personalization in-store as they do online.
Founding the IoT Vision for a Data & Analytics Startup Company
Let’s face it, we are all tethered to our mobile devices when we shop. Our client envisioned a plug-and-play marketing solution that would leverage shopper smartphones and allow retailers to segment their in-store traffic. By leveraging the power of IoT, they envisioned a solution that would enable retailers to grow their customer list, better understand buying behaviors, create personalized in-store offers and measure success with real-time analytics.
By leveraging mobile devices and Wi-Fi sensors installed in the store-front, their solution would provide retailers ability to engage visitors and repeat shoppers from the moment they walk into the store. Data gathered from in-store activity and purchase patterns are used to personalize shopping experiences by sending location based offers that are delivered at the moment of influence – when a customer is standing near or in front of a specific product. Essentially delivering the Amazon shopping experience in-store.
How it works
Retailers can engage with their customers in the aisle or the point of purchase with location- and
analytics-based offers designed to drive activation and redemption.
WiFi sensors detect when a shopper enters the store via mobile device. Each device is uniquely identified and tracked.
The retailer can now track in-store behaviour through the mobile device and send to the cloud.
Solution sends an SMS to shopper’s phone asking if they would like to receive special promos and offers by connecting to the store’s app.
Upon checkout shoppers receives an emailed receipt with a “Thank You” message and relevant offer for their next visit.
Offers codes are scanned at check-out. The solution records purchase & redemption information and sends it to back office systems for real-time analytics through the cloud.
Through the mobile app they are prompted to enter personal information to receive a promotional in-store coupons.
Experienced in BI, IoT and Cloud TechBlocks was Selected as IT Outsourcing Partner
With any IoT initiative, it’s not enough to simply capture the data, the ROI comes from applying this data in a smart and efficient way to drive real business transformation.
As part of their solution, our client needed to build a robust business intelligence solution that would not only enable retailers to make sense of the massive amounts of data being collected but to also gain valuable insights from it. However, as a small company, they did not have the internal resources or the budget to build this infrastructure on their own, so they decided to partner with the IT Outsourcing experts at TechBlocks.
TechBlocks not only has successful experience in providing IT Outsourcing services to a variety of organizations, we also have access to a large pool of talented resources and a culture of accountability and transparency. Our expertise in creating these types of agile and customized systems along with our passion for helping businesses build customer-first solutions made us the perfect fit.
There were two key components to the project, hardware to collect the in-store data and software to visually display the data in a way that made sense for the retailers. Our client provided the necessary hardware components such as the in-store Wi-Fi sensors and a plug-and-play device that can easily connect to any POS scanner device to start collecting data immediately.
On the software side, through an IT Outsourcing engagement model, TechBlocks was responsible for providing the resources to build the customized business intelligence platform used by the retailers to monitor in-store customer interactions. For a total of 6 months, TechBlocks provided resources to work in conjunction with their team to build the customized business intelligence component. The TechBlocks resources included:
- A Resource Specialist to act as a main point of contact throughout the project duration of the project
- A Services Specialist to work closely with the Client Project Manager to maintain key deliverables
- On-site .NET developer to build the business intelligence solution
The in-store device collects customer purchase data and automatically sends it to the cloud, in this case Microsoft Azure. The software platform built by TechBlocks then grabs this data from the cloud and displays the analytics in real-time through easy-to-read dashboards. The retailers can then gain intelligent insights in order to perform actions such as:
- Manage and create personalized in-store offers
- Set-up smart offer recommendations based on customer behaviour
- Determine the success of offers based on demographics and geographical location
- Tie coupon usage to a specific customer persona
- Display shopper information on size of basket, popular items purchased, etc.
- Relate the in-store behaviour of a shopper to their online interactions
By gaining insights on customer behaviour and offer performance, retailers can better tailor the in-store shopping experience by providing personalized offers. They can also improve their ability to keep track of inventory levels based on popular items purchased preventing out-of-stock scenarios. All of this leads to improved conversion rates for first-time shoppers, promote loyalty and leads to a better overall customer experience across various retail channels.
With the help of the IT Outsourcing services provided by TechBlocks, our client overcame their restrictions as a small business by successfully going to market with their IoT solution in just 6 months. This solution has the tremendous ability to transform the in-store experience and benefit retailers by:
The solution provides a mobile content experience that is not only targeted at repeat shoppers but also works to drive first-time visitor conversions. Retailers could also integrate games or challenges in exchange for coupons through their mobile app.
By delivering highly relevant, highly engaging content to shoppers based on geographical store location or past purchase behaviour, stores can deliver retail-specific experiences that build loyalty and delight shoppers.
Growth of In-store Sales
and Size of Basket:
By creating an engaging experience, consumers will be more likely to buy in-store. Delivering promotions based on the customer’s geographical location, location within the store or past purchase history can greatly increase spend per visit.
Tracking Coupon Usage
Retailers can gain insights that were not previously available to them such as tying coupon usage to specific consumers. They can their tailor their offerings accordingly.
Tracking Consumer Behaviour
By creating user personas, retailers can relate in-store shopping behaviour to online shopping behaviour and use this to create one seamless omnichannel experience tailored to each specific shopper.