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Russian Synqera announces their “Loyalty Generator”, a system that combines touchscreen and NFC-enabled devices, semantic engine and real-time big data analysis, which will allow retailers to appeal to individual customers at multiple points in their stores with interactive ads, virtual customer service, and special offers.
Showrooming, the practice of testing or viewing a product in a physical store and then purchasing it online from a retailer like Amazon (all while still in the store), has become a problem in recent years for retailers who rely on in-store traffic.
Synqera was founded in 2010 and is based in St. Petersburg, but they’ve just expanded to the United States with the opening of an office in New York City and the announcement of a partnership with Star Micronics. The company received $4 million in funding from Russian group of companies i-Free in 2011, and appears well on the way to support offline commerce, an enormous business segment, often overseen on our blog, where we cover mainly Internet companies.
The company says that the Loyalty Generator system is based upon Synqera’s “Scenario Generation Engine” and says that they offers a “multi-channel communications platform”.
There are three levels at which stores will be able to target customers. Upon entering a store, customers will see a “loyalty generator”, which contains a touchscreen and an NFC/magstripe reader, where the customer swipes his or her loyalty card and can get store maps, shopping lists, receipts, coupons, offers, announcements, etc. Then, while in the store, digital signage offers promotions, interactive ads, and customer assistance. Then, the customer proceeds to check-out, where they’re again targeted with interactive ads and offers or will have a place to leave feedback. Synqera devices can detect customer moods based on in-built face recognition technology, and bring customer data from available Internet sources, including integration with Facebook.
Of course, Synqera is not the only company with CEE connections attempting to tackle the challenge of aiding businesses in using smartphone data to drive in-store sales. Walkbase, a Finnish startup which was a member of the spring 2011 class of Startup Sauna and which recently obtained funding from Russian VC Projector Ventures, offers companies an analytics platform which uses sensors to provide companies with data on the physical movements of their customers. Unlike Synqera, Walkbase merely offers the data to businesses so that they can better appeal to their physical customers. Although not direct competitors, Walkbase and Synqera are based on the same idea: using “big data” to take store visitors and convert them into buyers. Then, this week, we had a post on Polish firm Mobberry, which also hopes to help firms by turning visitors into buyers by offering a system in which entrants to the store are offered discounts or promotions based on their social-network “likes”.
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