This post is part of our new Future of Retail series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we recently had with Christopher Dawson, CCO of Plexure.
1. What’s the history of Plexure? Where and how did you begin?
CD: Plexure has been around since 2010. We started out by building a platform that enabled brands to engage with their customers through mobile based on real-time contextual data points such as time of day, location, weather and what they were looking at in the app at the time. Since then the platform has been expanded to support a growing range of engagement channels
2. What specific problem does Plexure solve? How do you solve it?
CD: We solve the problem that bricks and mortar retailers have with retargeting their customers. Online retailers have no problem tracking the behavior of customers and retargeting them with relevant content before during or after their transaction. For physical retailers’ it’s not that simple. They have physical point of sale systems that accept cash, not online checkouts. They have shelves with products not digital catalogues with links. They have stores with signage not websites with banner ads.
Our platform connects to the retailer’s mobile app via an SDK. This enables retailers to build profiles of their customers and build segment based on contextual data from the device. Retailers can use this data and these segments to retarget customers with relevant content that improves their shopping experience and drives extra sales.
3. What’s the future of retail?
Prediction #1: Personalized – Shopping will become more curated for the individual. Expect virtual shopping assistants that can manage all your retail needs.
Prediction #2: Frictionless – Shopping will become more efficient. Expect bricks and mortar retailers to get a lot better at reducing interruptions to your shopping experience.
Prediction #3: Experiential – Shopping will become more fun. Expect brands to use their physical presence to greater advantage.
4. What are the top 3 technology trends you’re seeing in retail?
Trend #1: Various check out alternatives are being adopted by everyone from supermarkets to fuel stations and fast food giants to homewares stores.
Trend #2: More and more sales associates are carrying tablets around with them. These help them to be more useful and sell more stuff.
Trend #3: Retailers are using more and more non-sales data to drive extra sales.
5. Why is the retail industry ripe for disruption?
CD: It’s a trillion-dollar industry so it has scaled and attracts a lot of attention. Consumer expectations have changed so even the smallest wrinkle in the shopping experience is sometimes considered by customers to be a catastrophic source of frustration. Solving even just one of these relatively tiny but prevalent consumer problems can pay huge dividends. And now we have new ways to solve them, there is no shortage of vendors and brands willing to try. Some of them are even getting it right but even if they aren’t they are unlikely to stop trying because as they say a lot I retail; the customer is always right.
About Christopher Dawson
Christopher has worked in the field of direct marketing and digital customer engagement for more than a decade.
He has a wealth of experience helping global brands use data to improve customer experience and drive additional sales.