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2 Nov 2017, Sydney: Competing against companies from around the world, Australian technology startup RainCheck has won the Millennial Shopper category of the four Accenture ConsumerTech Awards at the Millennial 20/20 Summit in Singapore.

Based in Sydney, Australia, RainCheck is a mobile commerce platform for retailers and brands that opens up mobile as a direct to consumer channel. Leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence the platform allows people to save and share favourite items they discover online and notify them at a contextual and relevant time when shopping either online, in-app or in-store.

Co-founder Cameron Wall said RainCheck was extremely pleased to have had the opportunity to present at the Accenture program, and to receive wider industry recognition at a time when the company is looking to exploit commercial opportunities in S.E Asia and China.

“It’s great to get recognition for the work RainCheck is doing to solve problems faced by many brands and retailers around the world. Although 90% of research and discovery currently happens online, as much as 90% of transactions still happen offline in the store,” Mr Wall said.

Often this means that retailers are unable to track the impact of their online marketing and advertising investment. As importantly, they also miss out on future sales and on building strong customer relationships by not fully understanding the online-to-offline activity and not being able to track individual in-store transactions.

Mr Wall said that with the Millennial shopper fast becoming the largest spending demographic in the retail sector, many stores do not realise that although these shoppers spend most of their time on Smartphones, the majority of their purchases are still made in shops. And one of the major problems for these shoppers is knowing if a particular item is going to be in stock when they get to the store and knowing if they can get it at the right price.

“RainCheck resolves both of these problems. Our mobile commerce platform allows people to save things they like online and remind them when they are near stores that sell those items. Shoppers can even connect with a personal shopper that can locate the item in-store, make the purchase and have it put aside or even delivered to them. Retailers can then identify where their business is coming from in terms of online promotions and offers,” Mr Wall said.

The Accenture awards recognise early stage start-up businesses that are pushing the boundaries to better engage with the millennial consumer in the automotive, consumer goods & services, retail and travel industries.

As part of the awards program, short-listed companies from Australia, India, Italy, Singapore and the United States presented to an exclusive panel of judges from globally recognized brands that included Visa, Publicis, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg Company, Pirelli, Uber and Unilever.

The awards organiser Accenture, a leading global professional services company, believe technology start-ups are critical to encouraging material change in the innovation model, and that the Summit is a great stage for these entrepreneurs to showcase their business while industry leaders get to hear and explore their disruptive ideas first hand.

Millennial 20/20 brings all industries together with leading international and regional brands, retailers, and personalities alongside the world’s most exciting and disruptive start-ups. The Summits in London, New York and Singapore look into the future of nextgen commerce from the perspective of a digitally savvy consumer with a micro-focus on key pillars that include Retail, Marketing, Mobile, Payments, Video, Social, E-Commerce, CRM, Advertising and Big Data.

 

For further information:

Cameron Wall, Co-Founder & CEO

Mob: +61 423 530 318 or Email: cameron@getraincheck.com

 

 

About Raincheck

RainCheck was created to transcend the digital and physical worlds and help you shop smarter. Our patent-pending solution lets you save (aka “RainCheck”) items you find online and be notified on your Smartphone when nearby a store that stocks them in the real world. Founded in November 2014, we’ve now built the leading Geo-Fence and Beacon network, free iPhone (iOS) and Android apps and free Chrome and Safari browser extensions.

In addition to the Accenture ConsumerTech Awards (2017), the unique RainCheck technology has received global accolades including being named a Unilever Foundry50 Finalist (2015), Anthill SMART100 Innovation Finalist (2015), one of Econsultancy’s ‘19 startups set to revolutionise marketing’ (2015) and more recently a Visa Everywhere Initiative Finalist (2016). Read more on our Press page. As at October 2016, RainCheck proudly boasts a national footprint of over 10,000 retail locations, and a series of partner retailers including M.J. Bale, Alpha60, Mr Simple, Dolci Firme, Simple Watch Co. and Swish Fashion.

Find out mote at: https://www.getraincheck.com/home/

About Accenture ConsumerTech Awards

Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. With approximately 425,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. The Accenture ConsumerTech Awards recognize and reward early-stage innovators that are pushing the boundaries to better engage with the millennial consumer in the Automotive, Consumer Goods & Services, Retail and Travel industries.

Visit https://www.accenture.com/us-en/event-consumer-tech-awards

 

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Mobile Voice input will be as big as Google Glass
 – Voice search or Voice triggered AI driven assistants sound really cool and obvious however I don’t see them going very far on the Mobile platform. Google Glass was also cool and innovative but went nowhere fast. The reason is a bad UX (user experience), try it in public.


Bots are revealed as quite useless without a solid AI layer – Again Bots sound cool and seem obvious and the use case is evident however without solid AI data driving them they will remain in basic mode performing minor tasks.


Deeplinking on Mobile is suddenly understood and goes crazy – The Internet has provided a connected web of content that is all linkable and we take that for granted, however we spend most time in native mobile apps which are not connected the same way. Deeplinking solves that and expect to see some compelling solutions.


Retailers work out that Mobile is a Channel and its native – eCommerce and responsive web design has been implemented and re-platformed for the past five years by retailers, however everyone is Mobile now. In order to take advantage of rich push, location and proximity services (contextual commerce), you need to have a native mobile experience. Individual retail apps is not the answer so expect to see Mobile Commerce platforms emerge as a new channel.


Mobile Data speeds and cost disrupt Fixed-line in most countries – Investment in wireline infrastructure will slow and eventually stop. Developing countries will start to enjoy state-of-the-art Mobile networks with 4 & 5G pushing most of the mobile data. Why pay $70 p/mth for fiber when you have to pay $20 for the same speed over mobile, anywhere you go.


Instant Apps boom from nowhere – Instant apps are not that well known right now but that will change in 2017. Android has announced them and Apple is working on a similar project where you “try before you install” apps that again are served up at a contextual moment.


Contextual Commerce arrives & explodes – Gone are the days of paying for advertising that people may have seen or clicked on, it’s time to pay for action and that action is a sale. AIl driven data will enable contextual commerce where a relevant and contextual call can be made at the right time and place.

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Press

Now, more than ever before, consumers are using their smartphones not only as a communication tool, but also as their number one shopping and retail browsing precinct.

This shift in consumer behavior when it comes to mobile browsing has created what I term the Mobile Strategy Dilemma: should retailers develop a mobile application, or invest heavily in a highly responsive website?

Having both a native app strategy and an e-commerce website is a waste of money and grossly unrealistic for retailers, so a choice absolutely needs to be made. But what is the best choice? And which will work best for any given retailer?

Let’s look at the numbers. According to recent data from ComScore, smartphone apps now constitute 50 per cent of all digital media time, up a huge 44 per cent from a year ago. Mobile is now a whopping 68 per cent overall with desktop claiming just 32 per cent of digital attention.

As a society, and with advancements in technology and payment methods, we are transitioning from a ‘point and click’ world to a ‘swipe and tap’ way of life, steering away from the world of desktops to multi-channel usage. Retailers that aren’t reacting to these changes in mobile usage won’t see any online sales conversion, which is where the money lies.

This is where the Mobile Strategy Dilemma comes in. Retailers are asking: “If I invest in a native app strategy not enough people will download and use it, but if I don’t have a native mobile app I am doomed”.

You’re damned if you do, and doomed if you don’t.

Benefits of apps vs. mobile websites

Apps offer benefits that other channels simply can’t, activating location services to coincide with in-store beacons and enhance the shopping experience with the ability to communicate special offers, discounts and personalise customer service and human interaction. The unprecedented accessibility and convenience of shopping from an app doesn’t even compete with that of a desktop, with many laptop users converting to the use of iPad Pro or smartphone to conduct their online shopping activity.

While most retailers have mobile-optimised sites, shoppers are clearly converting across multiple channels. The gap between share of traffic and share of sales represents a huge opportunity for retailers who don’t see over 40 per cent of their mobile traffic converting digitally. Mobile-optimised site browsing isn’t as seamless for the online shopper, which begs for retailers to offer a richer and more convenient customer experience which can be provided in app-form.

With Facebook usage on mobile at approximately 80 per cent and Instagram at almost 100 per cent, it makes sense this is where shoppers are browsing and sharing. So why is it the lions-share of marketing spend on fixed web technology? The skills needed from retailers in order to deliver on mobile are immensely different than web, requiring development, integrations and design (UX/UI).

Today’s marketing funnel is broken into short, intent-driven moments, and marketing’s role throughout the funnel routinely extends all the way through to purchase. As customers enter mid-funnel, skip stages altogether, or move through this new funnel out of order, the business costs to retailers continue to mount and the cost of acquiring and retaining new customers grows more expensive.  In addition, managing the host of technologies that retailers have adopted to meet these challenges has significantly slowed down their ability to respond with speed to changing customer expectations and software advances.

Most retailers turn to mobile vendors due to lack of sufficient in-house mobile resources and expertise to meet their strategic goals. Forrester recently reported that 56 per cent of retailers work with several partners, including agencies, specialty vendors, and platform providers, to support integrated mobile initiatives. The issue lies in integrating and managing multiple point solutions as there are high costs associated, and they hamper the retailer’s agility in responding to changing customer expectations.

So what is the solution to this modern retail dilemma?

Retailers need to partner with specialist tech organisations in order to combat the trend. It’s about working with those that not only have the know-how, but also the connections to produce a universal shopping experience via a native app where all retailers are reachable together.

Mobile first or even mobile-only solutions will start to surface to satisfy this need, where the shopper is chaperoned all the way from discovery to purchase in-store or online. The new measure will be a pay per action model where retailers will pay for an actual sale conversion.

While the future of mobile is bright, it’s vital for retailers to move their strategy to more than optimisation allowing a seamless experience for consumers and further driving sales and traffic via their hefty investment in app technology. This will ensure greater sales, but also higher in-store conversion. A channel consumers will never be able to completely step away from.

Cameron Wall is a mobile technologist and the co-founder of RainCheck

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Although many retailers are currently focusing their efforts on increasing online sales, statistics show that a high percentage of Australians will research a product online but head to a bricks and mortar store to make their purchase.

The co-founder and CEO of RainCheck app, Cameron Wall, has built his business on this premise.

RainCheck is an app that lets consumers save items they find online and receive a notification if a nearby bricks and mortar store stocks the product.

It was launched in November 2014 with the aim of converting the 88 per cent of shoppers who research online but make their purchases offline.

While online sales are important, Wall said there is evidence that getting customers in-store is more beneficial.

 

“It’s surprising to many, but retail online sales in Australia are slow, showing a growth of only 2.3 per cent over the past five years,” he explained.

“Three out of four shopping carts are abandoned and 88 per cent of shoppers research online to make purchases offline.

“The evidence is there that, in Australia, retailers need to be utilising tools to get the customers through the door, rather than trying to execute the sale online.”

Joining forces to fight cart abandonment

With this in mind, Wall’s company RainCheck has announced a partnership with Australian ‘buy now, pay later’ company Openpay that he hopes will drive customers to make purchases in-store.

After meeting at the NRF Retail Conference in New York, Wall and Openpay CEO Simon Scalzo decided that, together, their businesses could help address the issue of three in four online shopping carts being abandoned.

The partnership will use Openpay’s beacon technology to drive interaction with customers in-store and RainCheck’s ability to let customers know that stock researched online is available as the customer walks past the store. Openpay’s ‘buy now, pay later’ service will also encourage purchases.

“When you start to look at the impact of building customer awareness of targeted product availability together with deferred payment options, before the customer reaches the checkout, it represents a very effective way to assist retailers in driving sales, reaching a highly diverse and dispersed audience,” said Wall.

“We chose to partner with Openpay because they understand the significance of bringing customers in-store to purchase and have an app that facilitates that journey.

“By integrating with the RainCheck app shoppers are reminded at a contextual and relevant time, when the purchase decision is being made.”

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Openpay has partnered with retail platform RainCheck to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping.

Interest-free retail payments provider Openpay has today announced a new key partnership that aims to benefit the 88% of shoppers that buy in-store after researching online. RainCheck is a retail platform that allows consumers to save online items into a wish list that alerts them when a store nearby stocks any item on their list, while Openpay lets consumers purchase an item and pay it back in interest-free instalments.

By combining the two tech-driven platforms, Openpay and RainCheck are hoping to corner a lucrative retail segment.

Shoppers still prefer in-store purchases

“It is surprising to many, but retail online sales in Australia are slow, showing a growth of only 2.3% over the past five years,” says Cameron Wall, CEO of RainCheck.

“Three out of four shopping carts are abandoned and 88% of shoppers research online to make purchases offline. The evidence is there that, in Australia, retailers need to need to be utilising tools that get the customers through the door, rather than trying to execute the sale online.”

The combined technology between the two companies will allow customers using RainCheck to save items they find online, and they’ll then have the option to “buy now, pay later” with Openpay if they make their purchase in-store.

Openpay’s CEO Simon Scalzo believes the new combined technology is driving potential customers to purchase in-store.

“The whole purpose behind the technology is capturing online browsers who don’t go all the way to the checkout,” he said.

Tech first

While still a self-described fintech platform, Scalzo believes Openpay is very much tech-focused.

“I’d like to say we’re very much focused on the tech perspective, and continuing to evolve our product…A great example of this is what we’ve been able to do with beacons. When the consumer walks in-store regardless of them having downloaded our app or not, the beacon is going to make them aware that if they want they can utilise a “buy now, pay later” solution in-store, seamlessly.”

Other innovations include integration with the retailer. The background of the Openpay app will change to fit the store’s branding that the consumer is shopping in, and retailers can send push notifications and messages to consumers about information such as sales.

Marrying online and in-store

The partnership has everything to do with connecting the online and in-store experience.

“I like the technology around connecting the two worlds: online and offline. To me that was really the key,” said Scalzo.

“Consumers want a consistent experience right? They don’t just want to have one experience when they’re shopping online and a different experience when they’re shopping in-store.”

Scalzo says the partnership with RainCheck, which focuses on connecting online and offline shopping, lines up with Openpay’s own goal to be “leading edge from an in-store perspective.”

“For both RainCheck and for us we saw it as a great partnership, as the focus of our business is really about that in-store journey, and RainCheck really wanted to partner with the provider that had in-store right and had a really significant presence in physical bricks and mortar stores.”

Consumer habits

While this recent partnership is innovating the way consumers think about retail payments, Scalzo admits the innovations are responding to consumer habits rather than shaping them.

“Technology is fundamentally important,” he said.

“I think “buy now, pay later” is really the evolution of layby, to a certain extent, in-store, but with more benefits; there is no paperwork, you can get the goods then and there and the retailers gets the funds the same day.”

“It’s just really digitising that process to be completely seamless.”

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Openpay has teamed up with Raincheck to create a new app developed to increase conversion rates. Consumers can now save items online into a “wishlist”, and be notified when passing a bricks and mortar store location.

FinTech payments company Openpay has announced a partnership with RainCheck, to enhance the online shopping experience further. A new Australian platform has been developed to enhance the online shopping experience by creating a social “wishlist” of relevant products, and providing multiple payment options.

Cameron Wall, CEO and co-founder of RainCheck, has seen the significant impact ‘buy now, pay later’ is having in retail. Following a meeting with Simon Scalzo, CEO of Openpay at the NRF’s Big Show in New York last month, the pair brainstormed over their foundations, and decided to integrate their technologies to build a new omnichannel platform via an app.

“By integrating with the RainCheck app, shoppers are able to buy from multiple retailers and brands in the one checkout with Openpay. It represents is an effective way to assist retailers in driving sales, reaching a highly diverse and dispersed audience,” says Scalzo.

Combining both companies’ ability to link traditional and online retail, the integration of the two omnichannel platforms could simplify the challenge of helping customers shop smarter and seamlessly, from browsing right through to purchase.

“While RainCheck initially existed to transcend the digital and physical worlds, we’re now supporting pureplays by taking their product feed into the RainCheck platform to sell directly through the app,” says Wall.

When you consider three out of four shopping carts are abandoned in Australia, retailers need to need to utilise tools that get the customers’ conversion online.

“By adding our RainCheck star button, so users can RainCheck items off our retailers websites, we help capture the three in four abandoned online shopping carts to convert the sale at a later date.”

RainCheck is an online to offline retail platform that bridges the gap between online browsing into offline shopping and purchase. Consumers now have the ability to save items online into a “wishlist”, and be notified when passing a bricks and mortar store location.

Technology and data are central for both Openpay and RainCheck, providing retailers with access to never before seen retail analytics through its integrated apps, including the ability to understand customer behaviour.

“With plug-in platforms like these, online retailers are able to flex and react at speed when interventions are required, with a tailored solution based on what customers are responding to,”  Scalzo.

This partnership continues to build on the groups significant in-store abilities to drive a new level of interaction with the customer in-store via Openpay’s unique beacon technology and RainCheck’s ability to build customer awareness of stock researched online and available in-store as the customer walks past the store.

“We chose to partner with Openpay because they understand the significance of bringing technology to the retail landscape and have an app that facilitates that journey.”

“In-store is still a major priority, and using mobile technologies is central to modernising our in-store solution to seamlessly implement purchase opportunities into our users’ everyday activities, when inspiration, intention and proximity collide,” says Scalzo.

Openpay is the only ‘buy now, pay later’ app born in-store. Openpay’s technology has evolved over four years to deliver a seamless in-store and online payment solution across many lifestyle industries, with a significant retail footprint in thousands of stores nationally.

About Openpay

Openpay is an online, in-store and in-home payments solution that allows consumers to buy now and pay later, interest free. The technology framework has been developed over four years and has proven to be successful under the Jam Payments, Evoke AutoPay and other white label brands. This year, led by its newly formed board and advisory committee, it has been consolidated into one group and a one single brand and new app platform – Openpay.

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Now, more than ever before, consumers are using their smartphones not only as a communication tool, but also as their number one shopping and retail browsing precinct. This shift in consumer behaviour when it comes to mobile browsing has created what I term the Mobile Strategy Dilemma: should retailers develop a mobile application, or invest heavily in a highly responsive website? Having both a native app strategy and an e-commerce website is a waste of money and grossly unrealistic for retailers, so a choice absolutely needs to be made. But what is the best choice? And which will work best for any given retailer? Let’s look at the numbers. According to recent data from ComScore, smartphone apps now constitute 50 per cent of all digital media time, up a huge 44 per cent from a year ago. Mobile is now a whopping 68 per cent overall with desktop claiming just 32 per cent of digital attention. As a society, and with advancements in technology and payment methods, we are transitioning from a ‘point and click’ world to a ‘swipe and tap’ way of life, steering away from the world of desktops to multi-channel usage. Retailers that aren’t reacting to these changes in mobile usage won’t see any online sales conversion, which is where the money lies. This is where the Mobile Strategy Dilemma comes in. Retailers are asking: “If I invest in a native app strategy not enough people will download and use it, but if I don’t have a native mobile app I am doomed”. You’re damned if you do, and doomed if you don’t. Benefits of apps vs. mobile websites Apps offer benefits that other channels simply can’t, activating location services to coincide with in-store beacons and enhance the shopping experience with the ability to communicate special offers, discounts and personalise customer service and human interaction. The unprecedented accessibility and convenience of shopping from an app doesn’t even compete with that of a desktop, with many laptop users converting to the use of iPad Pro or smartphone to conduct their online shopping activity. While most retailers have mobile-optimised sites, shoppers are clearly converting across multiple channels. The gap between share of traffic and share of sales represents a huge opportunity for retailers who don’t see over 40 per cent of their mobile traffic converting digitally. Mobile-optimised site browsing isn’t as seamless for the online shopper, which begs for retailers to offer a richer and more convenient customer experience which can be provided in app-form. With Facebook usage on mobile at approximately 80 per cent and Instagram at almost 100 per cent, it makes sense this is where shoppers are browsing and sharing. So why is it the lions-share of marketing spend on fixed web technology? The skills needed from retailers in order to deliver on mobile are immensely different than web, requiring development, integrations and design (UX/UI). Today’s marketing funnel is broken into short, intent-driven moments, and marketing’s role throughout the funnel routinely extends all the way through to purchase. As customers enter mid-funnel, skip stages altogether, or move through this new funnel out of order, the business costs to retailers continue to mount and the cost of acquiring and retaining new customers grows more expensive. In addition, managing the host of technologies that retailers have adopted to meet these challenges has significantly slowed down their ability to respond with speed to changing customer expectations and software advances. Most retailers turn to mobile vendors due to lack of sufficient in-house mobile resources and expertise to meet their strategic goals. Forrester recently reported that 56 per cent of retailers work with several partners, including agencies, specialty vendors, and platform providers, to support integrated mobile initiatives. The issue lies in integrating and managing multiple point solutions as there are high costs associated, and they hamper the retailer’s agility in responding to changing customer expectations. So what is the solution to this modern retail dilemma? Retailers need to partner with specialist tech organisations in order to combat the trend. It’s about working with those that not only have the know-how, but also the connections to produce a universal shopping experience via a native app where all retailers are reachable together. Mobile first or even mobile-only solutions will start to surface to satisfy this need, where the shopper is chaperoned all the way from discovery to purchase in-store or online. The new measure will be a pay per action model where retailers will pay for an actual sale conversion. While the future of mobile is bright, it’s vital for retailers to move their strategy to more than optimisation allowing a seamless experience for consumers and further driving sales and traffic via their hefty investment in app technology. This will ensure greater sales, but also higher in-store conversion. A channel consumers will never be able to completely step away from.
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Cameron Wall talks tips and tricks to retain your customer base.

Many people talk about the “good old days” of retail. When you walked into a store and the shopkeeper not only knew your name and your personal story, but also your shopping preferences. You were instantly offered options when it came to colour, size and fit, the likes of which most Gen Y and Millenials will never have experienced today.

While this old-school deep personal interaction and customer experience is considered golden, it’s also something that many bricks and mortar retailers today think they can never replicate.

My opinion, however, is that there is no better time to get personal with your customers. The reason? Today the shopper controls the retailer; they decide when they purchase, where they purchase and what they want. With 90% of purchases made in store, there is a huge opportunity for retailers globally to take back some of the power and change the face of the shopping experience for consumers.

To explain why, we need to take a look at the background of online retail. In the late 1990’s when ecommerce came to fruition, the promise of being able to sit in your underwear and shop online, all while sitting at home in front of your set up of a 17″ 50 pound screen and large desktop PC was amazing. The ability to order anything you wanted saw people flocking to buying online in droves, however the reality of the experience was nowhere near as easy as the promise.

Fast forward to today where we are living in an online world, those large cumbersome PC’s have been replaced with devices that fit in the palm of the shopper’s hand (and are much more powerful). The challenge? Hardly any stores are connected in a fully integrated way, and the retailer’s strategies are still aimed at people sitting at home, browsing for bargains whilst in their underwear.

A large volume of retailers have developed and implemented strategies solely based on a fixed web approach with a responsive mobile experience and search, with social media feeding it. Time and time again, we are seeing retailers that are struggling with the value of apps, knowing that consumers won’t readily download a large number of retail based apps on their device, that in reality is just an extension of their website and offers nothing new to the user. As it stands, ecommerce only accounts for a total of 10% of all retail sales and has a five year global growth rate of just 2.9%.

Add to this, the fact that shopping cart abandonment rates are sitting at 75%-85% and there is a global total of $4.5 trillion of seemingly unwanted goods that are never purchased ($50B in Australia alone).

As it is, 90% of people say they are likely to browse online and make a purchase in store, showing the need for retail storefronts. While the shopper’s journey hasn’t changed that much from the original ‘Discover, Desire, Consider & Purchase’ pathway, that journey now takes place starting in the online world and moving to offline (O2O) AKA people are now browsing online and buying in store.

It makes sense that retailers will harness this behavior and in store shopping habits. Just like the shopkeepers that knew what you came into the store for, there is the opportunity for retailers to give the same experience to their consumers. The technology platform that will enable this and allow an unprecedented shopper experience for customers is mobile.

By the time most people enter the store, as a result of online browsing habits, they will know more about the product than ever before. They have discovered, desired and considered the purchase, then it’s the role of the shop assistant and retailer to offer the “last mile” experience. The consumer will have advance knowledge of price points, reviews and in some cases stock availability, so it is becoming increasingly challenging for the shop assistant to add value.

It’s indisputable that as a result of this browsing behavior, an ecommerce site is vital for any retailer and allows maximum opportunity for consumers to browse and understand a product. However, for stimulating desire, once the shopper leaves the site the retailer has no idea where they went.

Did they visit a store? Did they make a purchase? Where?

The main reason online shopping carts are abandoned at such a high rate is there is no way of saving items for later consideration. As a shopper you might have items in online shopping carts from many retailers and inevitably many browser tabs open on your Smartphone, however the experience is hopeless and incohesive.

The challenge for retailers is step up the plate and take control back from the shopper. If over 90% of retail sales are happening in stores, there is an untapped opportunity for retailers to look at innovation. It’s about using technology to close the sales at the point when it’s both contextual and relevant, while also building real relationships with shoppers and helping influence the sale and experience.

This will, in time allow retailers to regain control from the shopper and shift the future to ensure they once again hold the balance of power and can increase loyalty and measure data in the process. 

Cameron Wall is the CEO of RainCheck.

Read the article at Ragtrader
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THE future of retail is like a bad movie sequel. This time, it’s personal.

Imagine dropping into a Myer on your way home from a busy day of work. Your wearable wristband — which has tracked your stress levels throughout the day — quietly alerts the store attendants, who greet you with a cold glass of water and offer you a seat.

As you relax, the attendant uses their tablet device to call a selection of products from the back room — products you didn’t even know you wanted — in your size and fit.

Your every interaction is tracked and analysed by the store, which carefully manages your long-term relationship to grow its share of your wallet. Whereas in the past it might have measured its success in terms of sales growth per store, now it tracks sales growth per customer. And in the face of the onslaught from online competitors like Amazon, traditional retailers will have to use every trick in the book, from data analytics to neuroscience, to keep you coming back.

“The more experiential retail becomes, the more it’s based on the emotional side of how you connect with customers, and I think emotion is playing an increasingly important role in the way stuff is sold,” Myer chief executive Richard Umbers told news.com.au.

The first “version” of that was simple advertising, but stores will have to get much more intimate to keep pressing those same buttons.

“The personal connection that is formed with the shopper as part of a relationship that can last years is actually a differentiating factor in the marketplace, where historically there has been a race to price and volume,” he said.

“[But] when you’re a premium department store, what are you really selling?

“Because everyone has your products, they’re available in the marketplace. The service component and emotional connection with the brand is one of the unique propositions that department stores can offer.”

Technology, he said, can “turbocharge” that service.

“It enables you to create those relationships from the fact that you know your customers and can build a history which you couldn’t possible hold in your head, but using technology you can do that over a period of time.”

Even right now, one of the core pillars of Myer’s $600 million turnaround strategy involves using technology to address long-held customer gripes, such as the lack of floor staff.

“We’ve rolled out 2500 iPads to our team members,” he said. “If you come in as a customer, if we haven’t got your size, haven’t got your colour, that’s enabling us to say don’t worry, we’ll have it sent to your home tomorrow.

“That’s real and it’s happening in our stores right now. What used to happen is the store assistant would go off into the back, vanish, and the connection to the customer would be lost.”

Michael Ford, CEO of whitegoods retailer The Good Guys, argues instead of simply meeting customers needs, technology will allow retailers to anticipate them.

“Historically what retailers have done, both in their merchandise and assortment planning and in their budgeting, is built it on historical, incremental growth,” he said.

“The great benefit they are deriving from data insights is they are going to be able to anticipate the needs of their customer. We’ve had 150 years of sleepy old retail — today that’s changing.”

Mr Ford said The Good Guys had even created a “sandbox store” targeted specifically at millennial customers. “It’s all about trying new concepts, new innovations, category extensions, redesigning the store, changing the fixtures, changing the paint colours, all sorts of things,” he said.

Mr Umbers and Mr Ford, who spoke at the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce Retail Lunch in Sydney on Wednesday, were focused on how technology can foster those emotional connections.

But Danny Naidoo, former chief information officer at South African retail giant Woolworths Holdings, which now owns David Jones and Country Road Group, says understanding how shoppers’ brains work will be crucial in working out how to apply that technology.

“Some of the biggest breakthroughs in neuroscience have come in the last five years, giving us a deeper understanding of human behaviour than the last 500 years,” said Mr Naidoo, who has joined the founding team of Aussie retail start-up Raincheck.

“In the next 15 years we’re going to see retailers adopting these findings.”

Simple gestures such as a reminder to buy something at a particular time, or even, bizarrely, sending shoppers a message telling them they made the right decision to buy something, may be used to “feed the customer’s wellbeing”.

“Consumerism is about pushing certain satisfaction drivers, and understanding that and what it means in a social context, I think will be a major shift,” he said.

“With the advent of wearables, and in a world where everything is connected, you could find wearables giving you a prod or a ping, or god forbid even the administration of a little dose of happiness.”

The work of neuroscientist Dr David Rock, in particular, is already being employed by some retailers. Dr Rock developed the so-called SCARF model, which seeks to explain factors that activate either a reward or threat response in the human brain.

SCARF stands for Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness. “These five domains activate either the ‘primary reward’ or ‘primary threat’ circuitry (and associated networks) of the brain,” Dr Rock writes.

“For example, a perceived threat to one’s status activates similar brain networks to a threat to one’s life. In the same way, a perceived increase in fairness activates the same reward circuitry as receiving a monetary reward.”

Denise Lee Yohn, author of What Brands Do, explained how US appliance retailer Pirch used the model to design its store experience.

When customers walk into the store, they’re greeted by a “barista of joy”, who offers a free coffee or infused water — this raises the customer’s status.

“As you’re waiting for your coffee, the barista will ask, ‘Do you have an appointment? Would you like to be toured? Or would you [want to] wander through the store?’,” Pirch CEO Jeffery Sears told Lee Yohn.

“What’s actually happening in that interchange is certainty. So you’ve created certainty about how the store works.”

By explaining the layout of the store, the barista also fulfils the customer’s need for autonomy, while relatedness and fairness come through the sales team, who “instead of using the usual sales pitches, serve free samples of food prepared by chefs using Pirch appliances”, Lee Yohn writes.

While it might sound like manipulation, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, Mr Naidoo argues.

“People in the developed world face an incredible challenge around time, but neuroscience tells us the number of ‘decision slices’ you have to make reasoned judgments during the day is limited,” he said.

“Developing these techniques to make it possible for people to make a complex decisions more quickly, or convince them they made the right decision, helps the person [through the day].”

frank.chung@news.com.au

Read the article on News.com.au.

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Press

A Sydney startup has managed to attract a major corporate player from the very market they’re trying to crack, adding a multinational CIO to its team.

RainCheck founder and CEO Cameron Wall first spotted Woolworths Holdings’ chief information office Danny Naidoo – the man who would later become his own CIO – in the keynote speakers list at the tech conference.

“We thought he’d be a good person to get in contact with,” Wall tells StartupSmart.

Late last year, Wall reached out to him an app he’d been working on that allows users to search for apparel items online, store their favourites in one central location and receive notifications when they are nearby a physical location that sells them.

This time they were in the US for another major retail tech conference.

“We had a chat in New York and Danny was very keen on getting on board and getting into it in a strategic role,” Wall says.

A few conference calls later, Naidoo agreed joined the pre-launch startup.

“I am delighted to be a part of the RainCheck team particularly in this critical pre-launch stage of the development,” Naidoo says in a statement.

“RainCheck has the ability to become the single biggest omni-channel platform for retailers.”

Wall says it didn’t take a lot of convincing on their part because Naidoo instantly understood the app and believed in the idea.

“It was a bit of an ‘aha’ moment – he got it and worked out he knows what the problems are,” Wall says.

For startups breaking into established industries like retail, Wall says it’s crucial to have expert professionals on-board with a high level of knowledge and experience in how the sector operates.

But he recommends that startups do their homework first to identify where the knowledge gaps are so they do approach the right people.

“Identify who you might need and really have a couple of causal conversations to see if you get on and if it’s the right fit,” Wall says.

It’s also important that startups are able to scale fast, raise capital and appeal to a global market if they want corporate heavyweights to jump ship.

“It’s very hard for someone to come out of the corporate world into the startup world,” he says.

HOW RAIN CHECK WORKS

While users browse through online stores, the RainCheck app lets users create an aggregated wish list of items they’re interested in.

Users simply click the “RainCheck It” icon to save them and when they approach a store they’ve liked an item in, the app sends the user a reminder.

“It’s an online to offline ecommerce platform,” Wall says.

Users can also share their lists with family and friends.

The app is connected to a growing network of more than 300 online stores.

After working in tech for more than 20 years and helping to pioneer some of Australia’s earlier internet and mobile data development, Wall discovered there wasn’t much happening with apps connecting digital and physical environments.

“There’s a lot of other tech that are online or offline,” he says.

“But there’s no one actually joining the two together.”

Though apps like Pinterest let you aggregate products on wall and Swirl digitises the in-shop experience, Wall says the bridge to make it simple to just buy things you spot online has been missing until RainCheck.

“93% of people still shop in stores,” he says.

“Ecommerce has only grown 2.3 to 2.4% in the last five years.”

Realising an opportunity to make this link, Wall began developing the app in late 2014.

After nearly nearly 18 months of development to ensure the infrastructure is robust with a user-friendly interface, Wall is now counting down the days before RainCheck is brought to market.

When RainCheck launches this month, this version will showcase its core functionality before Wall and his team add in more features like shop assistance further down the line.

“I spent many years building ecommerce platforms and mobile platforms,” he says.

Read the article on Startup Smart.

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