Transforming the physical shopping experience into the smooth ride available to customers online is Indigo Media's mission. [shutterstock: 500547007, rawpixel.com]

Transforming the physical shopping experience into the smooth ride available to customers online is Indigo Media's mission. [shutterstock: 500547007, rawpixel.com]

SAP Startup Focus Series: Indigo Media

Taking the best from online shopping, Indigo Media is transforming the way physical shopping works for retailers and customers. As part of our SAP Startup Focus series, we were given the opportunity to show you how Indigo Media is working toward that goal.

In a recently published article, Forbes called you a “futurist shopping solution”. What exactly does Indigo Media offer?

At Indigo we believe that the inception of e-commerce has forever changed the shopping dynamic. Shopping online offers invaluable advantages as it is both easy and fast for the customer, whereas in most aspects in-store shopping has remained unchanged for decades. In this new digital era, customers have become very demanding. And retailers must acknowledge that there is a need to transform the in-store experience if they want to remain competitive. At Indigo, our goal is to provide the same kind of seamless experience that a website offers in physical venues.

As a customer, consider the following:

  • How often have you walked out of a store unsatisfied because you could not find what you were looking for?
  • How often did you decide not to buy a product because you were lacking the proper information?
  • How often did you wish that you had a peaceful and seamless shopping experience without having to wait for a salesperson?

In the next generation of stores all these issues will be history.

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Indigo Connected Retail solution leverages SAP Cloud Platform and the IoT to design a new generation of responsive shops. Our application offers an innovative shopper experience all the while enabling retailers to gather customer insights so as to provide advanced in-store marketing analytics. The solution provides a real-time store sensing analytic system for retailers, and it integrates with multiple third-party operating solutions.

How did SAP / Startup Focus help you in bringing your solution to the market?

We have validated our solution into the Startup Focus program in June 2016, and ever since the Go-to-Market team has proved to be very helpful.

As a startup we benefit from immense agility, yet as we have the ambition to scale up and grow, we need to get a more structured Go-to-Market approach in order to properly address our clients needs.

Working with Startup Focus has given us the opportunity to meet key prospects in the retail industry, with marketing and technical background. Confronting our solution to their reality helped shape our product and evaluate the size of the market.

“One of the main obstacles was that we focused too much on the technical aspects of our solution (…)”

One of the main obstacles was that we focused too much on the technical aspects of our solution (as it is often happens in the digital business), expecting that the industry would understand the potential of a technical solution. This is a mistake that can bring a startup to failure.

Working with Luisa Silva (Global Director of GTM at SAP Startup Focus) on our marketing position enabled us to accelerate our market traction; with a focus on the value of the data and the shopper insights. Startup Focus has enormously helped us on shaping our go-to-market strategy and mastering our technology. Together with SAP Cloud Platform it was a strong leverage for our growth.

Why did you choose to run your solution on SAP Hana?

Our business model requires an industrial deployment of our solution, we needed to use a highly scalable platform with a very reliable maintenance.

At first our developers were not very keen on using Hana database, however as they benchmarked it they adopted Hana right away. Now they cannot consider going back to other solutions. As we gather immense amounts of data, each one of our systems once deployed sends thousands of requests into our database on a daily basis, and the number of systems deployed is increasing very rapidly. Hana can face this charge seamlessly and we are very confident of its scalability.

Though we use many services (database, API engine, media server, document depository and more…) for our product, we do not need to worry about maintaining this ecosystem as SAP is doing it for us! Building our technology natively on SAP Cloud Platform enabled us to focus on what really matters: Designing our solution and allocate our energy on our product.

In the aforementioned article you say the store is a “big black box” for retailers. How do you open that box for your customers?

At Indigo Connected Retail we consider that the store is a black box because retailers have very few insights on what really happens inside the store when customers are considering and purchasing products.

At the most retailers know how many people come in the store (traffic), and how many products are sold… but that is it.

  • What about the attractivity of the products to the customers?
  • Do they know how many sales they have lost on a single day?
  • And do they know why they lose sales?

Instead of a black box, shops have the potential to be a real media, an interactive media that brings experiences to the shoppers, similar to those that are found on the web.

“(…) retailers need to precisely understand what is on the client’s mind when they are in front of the product.”

To adapt their merchandising in real time and offer the shopping experience customers really seek, retailers need to precisely understand what is on the client’s mind when they are in front of the product.

With proper resources and technologies, retailers can understand why despite a customer being more interested in product X than product Z; they eventually end up buying product Z. Why is it so: price too high, packaging doesn’t fit the brand image…etc.

With our solution you can design the marketing engagement that will bring the KPI’s to gather the shopper insights you need to increase your sales.

There are also strategic reasons for using SAP Cloud Platform and Hana Database. Before joining Startup Focus we heard that the SAP Leonardo ecosystem was to be released. Nowadays, we are using almost all aspect of SAP Leonardo (except for blockchain, which we will use in a near future). Some of our features require a connection to our clients ERP, so choosing SAP Hana seemed logical for both reasons.

How do you collect the necessary data?

In order to provide such a seamless shopping experience, we have designed a new type of interaction:

We are transforming the entire shop into an interactive space by leveraging the IoTs. These are integrated across the entire shopping area, especially into product displays. The main strength of our platform is that we can use a wide range of IoTs, even third-party technologies. In fact, we can integrate any device into our system thanks to our architecture.

To deliver a unique experience we are using two kinds of IoTs: sensor and actuators. Sensors detect an interaction and actuators deliver the experience.

Sensors can be cameras with image recognition algorithm, capacitive sensors that transform almost any material (wood, plastic, cardboard…) into an interactive one, light detection, Lify, presence detection, Beacons, fidelity cards and even mobile apps or web apps.

Actuators are screens, lights (any kind of lightning system), fragrance dispensers, sounds, even servomotors; obviously we can also interact with mobile apps.

What are the customer-side requirements?

There are no specific customer requirements except for an internet connection inside the shop to collect the data and update the experiences. We can integrate our solution into any point of sale display. Our solution is very agile and fits in existing or new furniture (we do not build furniture).

When one of your customers starts using your solution, how long does it take from the implementation to the getting the first results?

From our experience, retailers need at least 6 months to gather enough data from a single marketing campaign to have consistent data for the Business Intelligence analysis.

Once the data is gathered, marketing and predictive models are created and the experience can then be changed to meet the shopper’s expectations. Our solution enables real time merchandising enabling retailers to react very quickly.

What’s next for Indigo Media and how does the Startup Focus Program assist you in your future?

Our technology is on the market since December 2016 and after a year we have a good feedback from our clients, which helped us improve our services.

The next step is scaling us to make Indigo C-retail the standard for digital merchandising and big data for retailer. In order to do so, we need to accelerate our go to market, increase our integration into retailer’s ERPs and also focus on data analysis.

Being member of Startup Focus Program enables us to regularly participate to SAP events, where we meet sales teams from SAP and clients. This allows us to better understand and get to know our clients and their pain points, which is a critical factor of success for our got to market.

It also provides us with the opportunity to evangelize retailers and brands about the benefits of big data

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