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 David Marimon, CEO and Co-founder of Catchoom.
1. What’s the history of Catchoom? Where and how did you begin?
DM: As an spin off of Telefonica R&D, Catchoom was incubated in one of the most innovative companies in the world, based in Barcelona. Thanks to an Open Innovation framework, the IP developed at Telefónica was licensed to pioneers in Augmented Reality: Metaio (now part of Apple) and Layar (now part of Blippar). Incorporated in 2011, the company received its seed round of funding in 2012 and was recognized at the Red Herring Top 100 Europe as a promising private tech venture and chosen as a Cool Vendor in Digital Marketing by Gartner in 2013. In 2014, Wired selected Catchoom as one of Europe’s Hottest Startups. In 2015, the company was awarded an Honorable Mention for the Best Tool at the 2015 Augmented World Expo Auggie Awards.
Catchoom works with a number of retailers, consumer packaged goods brands and agencies worldwide, including Privalia, Migros, mymuesli, KLM, Shazam, Condé Nast, Y&R, Havas Media and leading AR providers.
2. What specific problem does Catchoom solve? How do you solve it?
DM: Catchoom helps shoppers take faster and better decisions. We aim to bring retailers the tools they need to create new digital experiences for their customers, bridging the gap between online and offline, through their branded mobile apps and websites.
With Catchoom’s Visual Shopping solutions, retailers and agencies create better purchase and product experiences with the power of its proprietary technology in the fields of Augmented Reality, Image Recognition and Artificial Intelligence.
3. What’s the future of retail?
Prediction #1: Mobile and omnichannel. More and more shoppers use their phones while shopping to save time and money and to make their life easier. It allows them to compare prices, read online product reviews, and receive real-time promotions, among other functionalities.
Prediction #2: Digital in-store experience. As the line between the digital and the real world continues to blur, we see a new trend in retail, where traditional brick-and-mortar and ecommerce are blending into one. Therefore, retailers should be paying attention to what new technologies can add to the shopping experience they offer.
Prediction #3: Personalized experiences. Shoppers expect customizable experiences from the brands they interact with. Brands and retailers must engage customers offering accessible, personalized, and continuous shopping journeys, whether in-store, online, or via a mobile device.
4. What are the top 3 technology trends you’re seeing in retail?
Trend #1: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. This tech can increase revenues by helping retailers better understand consumers, generate new sales and enhance the customer experience in several ways: offering advanced personalization, enabling visual search for better shopping experiences, capturing feedback and reviews, and recommending products and services for purchase.
Trend #2: Augmented Reality. People want to interact with the products to make faster and smarter decisions when shopping. Augmented Reality tech integrated into retailers’ mobile apps to enables interaction with the real-world environment, from product visualization to interactive packaging to ads and store banners. AR is not just fun, it is driving sales by bringing foot traffic and generating engagement.
Trend #3: Voice Recognition and Conversational Commerce. Smart voice assistants and chatbots are also changing the way customers interact with brands. They enable personal one-to-one conversations with users, through voice or text, that can develop buying opportunities, while also capturing real-time feedback and reviews from them.
5. Why is the retail industry ripe for disruption?
DM: The retail industry is constantly evolving because of shifting consumer trends and technological advances. The proliferation of mobile phones has changed the way customers shop and interact with products and brands. Shopper expectations have risen, as a result of having unlimited information in the palm of their hands, but it is time for retailers to use this weapon – the smartphone – to their benefit, as well as the customer’s.
It is time for a big shift in retail – a technological disruption. We believe that as Artificial Intelligence evolves, and retailers begin to adopt it, the retail industry as we know it will be radically transformed, empowering retailers and making life easier for consumers.
About David Marimon
David Marimon is the CEO and Co-founder of Catchoom, a private, VC-funded company and the first spin-off of Telefónica R&D. Incorporated in 2011, Catchoom offers Visual Shopping solutions to help shoppers make faster and better decisions. Catchoom’s technology suite includes Image Recognition, Augmented Reality, and Artificial Intelligence. David is the former Project Manager of Mobile Augmented Reality and Contextual Services at Telefónica R&D. He has a Ph.D. in Computer Vision and Augmented Reality from EPFL, Switzerland. David has been asked to speak at leading industry events including CES, Mobile World Congress, and the Augmented World Expo. Cited by Gartner, Wired, and TheNextWeb. He's considered an AR veteran with more than 14 real years under his belt.