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As the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity kicks off this week with a greater focus on digital, disruption and the role of technology in marketing, one small Australian company has earned a presence in the inaugural Unilever Foundry50 line-up of marketing tech start-ups.

RainCheck was founded in an effort to solve the perennial online shopping conundrum: a lot of people browse and research products online, but relatively few actually complete those purchases.

Between 65 per cent and 75 per cent of shoppers, depending on the product category, abandon their shopping carts online, according to figures from SaleCycle, and 86 per cent research products online before buying offline.

So what happens to all those virtual shopping carts clogging up the aisles of online retailers? Most of them disappear into the ether, taking with them $US4 billion ($A5.1bn) in potential sales, of which about $2.5bn “should” be captured, according to BI Intelligence estimates. But RainCheck has a plan to change that.

Co-founded by former Digitas LBi executives Cameron Wall, who is the chief executive, and Lucas Bigwood, who is the chief marketing officer, the start-up aims to connect online shoppers with offline purchases.

The company has built its own RainCheck app which enables people to save the items in their shopping cart to a ‘wishlist’ on their mobile device that then informs them when they are within range of that product in the physical world using beacon technology.

“The retailer has to allow RainCheck to tag their site,” says Wall. “The buyer has to download the app.

“Then when they click on the RainCheck icon, which will be next to the ‘Add to shopping cart’ button on the retailer’s website, it saves the item details into the cloud.”

The company, which was formed in November last year, is in talks with retailers about signing up to the service.

When a chain signs up, RainCheck will undertake to install beacons in each store that communicate with their app when the device it is on is within range.

There is also a data play, Wall says. “We look for 24 data points. No one can get that data. most of these people aren’t buying online, they’re buying in-store.

“We’ll eventually incorporate a virtual wallet (so people can buy using their phone).”

RainCheck is self-funded at the moment, and is set to launch in Australia in September with between six and a dozen retailers on board.

The company’s two other co-founders, chief technology officer William Lin and designer Rodrigo Holler are also shareholders.

RainCheck will then look to raise Series A funding of more than $3 million to fund a first-quarter launch in both the US and in Asia.

“Our business model’s quite straightforward,” Wall says. “If the retailer has 100 stores, we look at the average basket price and charge a per store per month cost. We can realise a really good return on investment that way.

“You can also add different offers, such as 10 per cent off if you buy it in the next 10 minutes.”

In Cannes this week, the company will participate in “speed-dating” style introductions with major advertisers, technology partners and agencies as part of the inaugural Lions Innovation two-day technology and data-focused “festival within a festival” that starts on Thursday.

About 300 start-ups applied to be part of the Unilever Foundry50.

Read the article on The Australian.

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