You are an offline retail store with a heavy display density of about 65-70%. Customers float
in and out, but it’s obvious and a norm that most customers don’t discover most of the products on display. So some of them move online and give up on your store.
So what can offline retail stores do to match the ease and level of discovery of an ecommerce. Enter Shopsense, a startup based out of Mumbai that is looking to bridge the online-offline gap. Started by 3 IIT Bombay graduates – Harsh Shah, Farooq Adam and Sreeraman MG, the company provides offline retailers interactive product discovery platforms that they claim guarantees visibility of products and increases sales by as much as 18%. “Offline retailers want to go online, and online retailers want to go offline. Our products marry the two. So you get the the touch and feel of physical, offline retail, while maintaining the engagement and interactivity of online retail.” says Harsh Shah, co-founder at Shopsense. The company has developed 3 products to help retailers get the most out of their shopping parties called ‘Match’, ‘React’, and ‘Sarus’. While Match and React are operational and retailed across India, Sarus is still being developed.
Match – To Aid Product Visibility and Discovery
As the name suggests, the product offers customers a digital catalogue to browse through products, match and discover various options and even curate their own designs. Match is run on 22”, 24″ and 27” capacitive touchscreens deployed by Shopsense in stores.
Groups of customers or “shopping parties” as Shopsense calls them, will be able to browse through a variety of apparel in the store, check availability, search and discover new products or even share it with friends to get their opinion on it. “In any retail store you will have 3 or 4 items put on a mannequin out of the hundreds of apparel available. It’s just a matter of chance that you will discover other products when you shop. Our product not only helps to find other products that match, they also show complementary products. So it’s not just about primary product discovery, it’s also about secondary products discovery.” explains Harsh.
React – Empower Sales Reps and Customers with Relevant Product Information
React is an object recognition device that scans products and brings alive the product on screen to provide relevant information about it.
“There may be 150-200 styles of any particular product, with different sizes, colours etc., Objects can be picked up and placed on it, and it will recognise the object and give information about it.” says Harsh.
React is used to make sense and discover smaller products like watches, shoes and jewellery.
Sarus – Larger Stores, Over The Counter Sales
Similar to the Match, the Sarus is multi-purpose screen aimed at larger stores where the 24” and 22” variants are considered too small. Sarus is used for the over the counter sales of products, though primarily aimed at the sales of watches and jewellery. The company says that Sarus has been specially designed for retail spaces.
Offline Retail: Rise of Digital Product Discovery Platforms
The $9.8 billion e-commerce industry in India is definitely an opportunity that offline retailers cannot ignore. Especially with an increasing number of online stores now going offline. Retailers across the globe are now trying to bring online shopping features to the in-store shopping experience.
Some of the big names who have started employing similar technology include German fashion house Hugo Boss. The company has started deploying heat sensors to help place their premium products in stores. Using the sensors, the stores can identify areas of high customer concentration and plant products. The Marks & Spencer’s store in France also uses a virtual boutique through which customers can view the new range of clothes, instead of manually browsing through the stores sections.
“In the retail stores, 27-30% of the customers spent an average of 3.5 minutes viewing 35-37 products. On average the ticket size increased by 18% as compared to a store which does not use the product.” says Harsh. The number of products that a store will need, depends on the size of the store. According to Harsh, there should be one 1 device for every 1,200 square feet in a store.
Shopsense will provide the hardware, software and content creation services to clients. While the charge for the hardware is one time, the payment for content and software will be on a monthly basis. “Maintenance for all the systems will be done through remote management, and our operations will be in touch with the clients as well.” explains Harsh.
Retail clients who will soon start using Shopsense’s products include watchmaker Titan, and Big Bazaar’s soon to be launched Big Direct marketplace.
“We will soon be active in the Being Human stores in Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi by the 1st or 2nd week of February.” says Harsh. In addition, they also plan to expand abroad with stores in UK, Latin America and to the Marks & Spencer’s store in Dubai.