Viewsy provides analytics for offline retailers by supplying insights about customer behavior patterns, such as customer loyalty and time spent in the shop. The British location analytics startup comes to solve a common problem faced by retailers: understanding customer behavior in physical space in order to manage businesses better.
The startup, founded in 2011, is rapidly growing and already counts clients like Vodafone and ABN AMRO bank. In today’s interview, we talk to Odera Ume-Ezeoke, founder and CEO of Viewsy, about how they use Big Data to help companies effectively manage physical environments.
The first thing we read on Viewsy website is: “Measure and Manage foot traffic like never before”. Could you briefly explain how it works?
We install discrete passive sensors in store to analyze visitor movements within and between the client’s stores. This data is anonymized and then securely transmitted to Viewsy’s analytics platform, which calculates store statistics on footfall, store visitor flow, and other key metrics. The resulting analysis and data is made accessible via the Viewsy dashboard and reporting suite.
Does this technology also benefit consumers?
Absolutely – our technology has a wide range of applications, including many that have a direct benefit to customers, such as improving store layouts to avoid overcrowding, reducing checkout queue wait times, understanding surge footfall to increase safety (such as in a large arena or football stadium), and enabling better positioning of customer service or security staff. We also offer retailers the ability to provide an option for customers to opt-in and receive special offers and discounts.
How do you think physical shops of the future will be?
When I visualize the retail store of the future, I see a cross between Amazon, Argos, and Apple – A wide open retail showroom space with a very human approach to product education and support, served by an enormous, wholly-automated stockroom that can fulfil purchases within a couple of minutes. In this vision, the relationship between customers and the brands has the same directness that we are starting to see develop with virtual shops, with customers able to use their smartphones to interact with areas of the physical store to leave feedback, receive product recommendations and offers, and conduct product research.
The online world has seen an increasing breakdown in the asymmetry of information that has historically allowed retailers to take advantage of customers, and I believe that the same changes are coming to the physical world. Those retailers that embrace this democratization of information and work to combine the price, choice, and service offered by online stores with the convenience of physical stores will be the big winners in this coming wave of offline innovation.
What are your expectations for CODE_n and the future of Viewsy?
CODE_n is a fabulous initiative, and it is very encouraging to see innovative companies like GFT who are prepared to do more than just pay lip service to a commitment to big-data and the startup ecosystem that has grown up to tackle some of the biggest data problems. We are really excited about CODE_n as a platform to advance awareness of big data applications in the corporate world, and move beyond big data as the “next big buzzword” to a common understanding of the practical applications available in the marketplace right now. We firmly believe that this shift will shape the world in a more profound way than at any point since the computer was introduced.
Right now Viewsy is focusing on making sense of the in-store retail environment, but in our genes we are a big data company – we are not dependent on any one technology, and this will become more apparent as we extend our focus more broadly to achieve our mission to “make sense of the world around us”.