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 Antonio Tomarchio, CEO of Cuebiq.
1. What’s the history of Cuebiq? Where and how did you begin?
AT: After many years working with brands and retailers, not only did I see clients’ crucial need for effective offline analytics and measurement in order to map and measure the consumer journey, but also how weak all available solutions were in terms of ability to produce meaningful, clear, and privacy compliant data about user behaviors in the offline world. This appeared to me as a great opportunity to solve a key need.
Cuebiq was born out of my previous company, Beintoo, a leading European mobile user acquisition and retention company. During my time as Beintoo’s CEO, we started testing the potential of location intelligence and found not only a growing interest in the marketplace but also how location data could finally help bridge the gap between consumers' online and offline behaviors. This ultimately led to the creation of Cuebiq in February of 2016, which is now a leading location intelligence company with the largest, most accurate location database in the world, reaching 2 in 5 anonymous smartphone users worldwide.
2. What specific problem does Cuebiq solve? How do you solve it?
AT: Cuebiq helps businesses to glean actionable insights about real-world consumer behaviors and trends. Even with the rise of eCommerce, the offline consumer journey is critical to understanding the full picture – according to the latest US Census Bureau report (Q2’17), 92% of purchases still take place in the physical world. Whether you are planning your next campaign, consumer activation, or determining where to open (or close) your next store, location intelligence has the ability to help you complete the picture and answer your most pressing questions.
How do “I” solve this industry-wide problem? Making sure that quality and transparency are at the core of everything we do. One of the key marketplace issues we found, which have led to the success of Cuebiq over the past 2 years, was that clients were leveraging low-quality location data and solutions that lacked transparency and privacy compliance. We made it our mission to disrupt the status quo and set a new, much higher quality, privacy, and transparency standard for the industry. High-quality data also means having the capability to effectively train machine learning algorithms to produce meaningful insights, and this is our core strength. As you can tell, we are passionate about what we do and the value we bring to our clients.
3. What’s the future of retail?
Prediction #1: Leverage online to win offline. A recent study from Deloitte found that 56% of in-store customers begin their journey using a digital channel first, and 70% of consumers say they prefer a combination of digital and physical store options for the sake of convenience. What does this mean? Well, this means that there is a powerful connection between the online and the offline world and there are retailers that will able to understand, predict, and ultimately tap into these behaviors will be the ones who will master the ability to master a connection with consumers and ultimately drive purchases.
Prediction #2: Predictive analytics. What is the future footfall trend for my stores vs. my competitors' stores? What is the potential revenue of a new store? What is the revenue impact of a competitor store opening in proximity to my store? These are just some of retailers' pressing questions. Now think of the edge you'd gain if you could leverage predictive analytics to accurately forecast future performance, map risks, and identify gaps in your strategy. The capabilities of predictive analytics will only continue to grow in the coming years, becoming a very powerful tool to map future performance.
Prediction #3: The Amazon race. Retailers are under increasing pressure to compete with Amazon, no surprises here. What might come as a surprise is if some of those retailers are able to get a clearer picture of how and which consumers are show-rooming at their locations (including when and where, what are they interested in) and then purchasing on Amazon, and turn a threat into an opportunity. Location data and predictive analytics will play a crucial role in this race, providing key tools that retailers will need to devise and execute an effective strategy.
4. What are the top 3 technology trends you’re seeing in retail?
Trend #1: Immersive experiential shopping. Technology is enabling retailers to craft shopping experiences around the shoppers, creating stores that offer experiences that cannot be provided online. This ties back to my first prediction, as this is a trend that already started but that will grow in 2018 and beyond and where the ability to bridge online and offline world will be a unique tool to create powerful, ownable consumer experiences.
Trend #2: IoT. Connected devices are already enabling retailers to optimize operations and supply chain on one end and consumer interaction on the other.
Trend #3: Alternative check out methods. It's all about creating a simple and seamless in-store experience, from mobile payments to advanced image scanning consumers are more and more able to leverage their mobile wallet, banking app, etc. vs. needing a physical wallet.
5. Why is the retail industry ripe for disruption?
AT: Players like Amazon, first and foremost, and Walmart do pose a serious threat to most retailers. The industry is ready for disruption – evolve or be extinct so to speak – and I am confident that we'll see brands leverage the technology, data, and creative potential at hand to affect change.
About Antonio Tomarchio
Antonio Tomarchio is the founder and CEO of Cuebiq, a location intelligence ompany allowing businesses to gain actionable insights about consumers’ offline behaviors and trends. Antonio is an impressive entrepreneur who founded his first company, Ecom, at 19 years old. He went on to found PreCYdent and then AdRight. As cofounder and CEO of AdRight, Antonio led the company to a successful acquisition by Dada in 2009. He then became Dada’s Head of Product and R&D, overseeing global strategy and product development. This experience directly prepared him to found Beintoo, a mobile user acquisition and retention company. In his 6 years as Beintoo’s CEO,Antonio oversaw the rapid expansion of the company’s mobile marketing and location intelligence operations, which ultimately led to the creation of Cuebiq in February of 2016, which is now a leading location intelligence company with the largest, most accurate location database in the world, reaching 2 in 5 anonymous smartphone users worldwide. With 5 offices across United States, Italy, and China, Antonio is focused on growing Cuebiq’s footprint and helping its clients drive their business and marketing strategies with an outstanding suite of products providing actionable location insights, geo-behavioral targeting, cross-channel attribution, and real-time campaign optimization. Antonio holds an M.S. in Mathematical Engineering from Polytechnic University of Milan and a double degree in Engineering Science from the Ecole Centrale de Paris. Since his college years, he published several studies on performance-based advertising algorithms, and network theory. Antonio was also named Top 40 Under 40 by DMN.