Viewsy is an exciting and rapidly growing young business, specialising in the area of offline analytics. Online retailers often gain valuable insight into the behaviours of their customers by tracking their movements across the website. This allows them to judge what is popular, how best to improve sales, and a host of other valuable insights into their customer base.
Up until now such insight has not been available to high street shop owners. Aside from transaction details, a combination of guesswork and trial and error was required to make any assumptions about customer behaviour.
Here at Insider Trends we recently caught up with Odera Ume-Ezeoke of Viewsy , to discuss their innovative new solution this age-old problem for offline shop owners.
Could you tell me what Viewsy does, so that someone like my grandmother would understand?
Viewsy is essentially a technology that helps shop owners on the high street to understand their customers better, so that they can do better business.
How exactly does Viewsy do this? Is it through tracking customer movements, or their purchases, or some other factor?
We anonymously track customer movements throughout the shop, and can inform the shop owner what his average customer has been doing. Let’s say, for example, that a shop owner would like his customers to spend a little more time viewing certain products. We can show him how much time people are currently spending inside the shop, and he can then begin encouraging customers to begin staying for longer.
How do you track customers around the shop?
Technically, we don’t actually track people. We anonymously track Wi-Fi signals from mobile phones, using sensors in the shape of small boxes which we install for the shop owner. Once installed, these sensors record activity within the shop throughout the day, and produce a report the following morning.
What kind of things do shop owners usually track? Is it primarily customer movements and how much time they spend in store?
There are several different things which shop owners look out for. For example, they may want to find out how loyal their customers are, and we can show them how often customers have returned multiple times. They also want to know how long customers have spent in different parts of the store, and how successful they are at capturing street traffic – encouraging customers to actually walk into the shop, rather than just walk past it.
Could you give us an idea of the type of things that shop owners are using this data for?
Well, we had one shop owner who actually wanted to know how successfully she was capturing the attention of passers-by outside, and she wanted to experiment in finding the best way to increase the numbers of people walking in instead of straight past. She tried different window displays, and using Viewsy she found that one particularly intriguing display yielded a massive increase in the number of customers entering the store. Just by noticing this change she made a positive change on her bottom line.
Another customer of ours was running an email marketing campaign, and wanted to assess whether or not they were actually driving traffic back to the high street. The email essentially promoted an in-store sale to existing customers, and could then track the numbers of transactions through their tills. They can then assess how effective the marketing campaign was, and whether they could make any changes to it.
Here at Insider Trends we’re really interested in the latest technology and trends within the retail industry. How is Viewsy innovative and forward-focused?
Viewsy is definitely innovative and groundbreaking. In retail, you and I will generally spend most of our money offline. Globally, we spend 96% of our money offline rather than shopping on the internet. This is a tremendous amount of money being spent, and yet until now next to no analysis has been done to improve customer experience. Until today the retail industry appeared to be a bit outdated and decrepit. But what Viewsy does is, for the first time, provide offline shop owners with the kind of information than they take for granted when selling online.
This technology really is revolutionary, and we hope that shop owners can use this information to improve their businesses looking into the future. In the past, shop owners had to stick their fingers in the air to guess the direction of the wind, but now they can make intelligent decisions based on how long customers are spending in their shops and in which areas.
What do you think will come next for location analytics as an industry? Are there any specific technologies which Viewsy is looking to explore next?
There are several technologies which Viewsy is hoping to get into next, although as they are quite special it’s hard for me to talk about them just yet! However, one that I can talk about is the idea of giving consumers the ability to identify themselves when they enter a store. They walk into a store, and their experience is now personalised – they can be treated like a local shopper in stores of any size, anywhere.
Are there any other brands of businesses which you find to be particularly innovative, and an inspiration to you as a company?
We love working with innovative retailers. We find companies like Nike and All Saints particularly inspiring, because despite holding strong positions in their respective markets, they still try to keep ahead by trying exciting new things which others may perceive as too risky. Despite having it all, they’re still keen to invest in the future development of the industry.