Latest News: Technology |  Celebrity |  Movies |  Apple |  Cars |  Business |  Sports |  TV Shows |  Geek


Filed under: News


The App That Zaps Sales Reps, SuperSolver Takes Cues From Apple's Sales Playbook

Jan 19 2014, 4:51pm CST | by

10 Updates


Recommend Your Tweet as Top Tweet:

Full Story

The App That Zaps Sales Reps, SuperSolver Takes Cues From Apple's Sales Playbook

David Montoya didn’t like being a lawyer and hated being a CPA. In rapid succession, the MBA with a law degree cycled through a white shoe law firm and a Big Four accounting firm before finally realizing that neither profession could set his pulse on fire. In one final career overhaul, he joined a venture firm with tech startups. Next move was to switch sides of the table, learn to code and launch a series of mobile apps from a warehouse in Brooklyn.

How was that move from Park Avenue to Williamsburg anyway? What about all those schools?  “Well, I feel a lot more alive now and not in some kind of fog. As for the training, I can do my own patents and keep the books, no problem,” he laughs. Far from being a one-man band, Montoya attracted a team of tech heavies to design mobile apps all focused around a central theme of geo-sensitivity. The apps activate at pinpoints on the map.

With three GPS apps launched, Montoya has a hot hand.  One app, SuperSolver , targets retailers in trouble and looks like a winner. With a total addressable market of about $15 billion by 2015, according to KHX Investments, e-commerce apps have plenty of runway. SuperSolver is already in large retail chains. The app is enabled once the customer steps through the entrance.

SuperSolver can text or chat with shoppers inside retail stores to guide them to shelves or tell them about products. Once the consumer reaches the aisle, SuperSolver powers down and can spring back to life anytime for a chat.

On the sly, the app monitors customer behaviors, collecting data on reactions to different displays and noting when they check price tags. This nonverbal information — traffic patterns, pauses at displays, body movements – is valuable feedback on purchasing intentions. This information is processed in the aggregate to detect trends.

Once the app detects that a customers is jumpy and ready to talk to a sales rep, it can signal one to magically appear at the customer’s side. SuperSolver crunches the data to suggest deals for the salesperson to present in real time. The app stores thousands of details about the shopper in a MongoDB or MySQL database that store managers can later plumb to adjust the sales strategy.

Retailers Reboot, Look for Apps

Traffic to US stores was hurt during the recession when unemployment spiked and consumers kept a tight hold on their purse strings. Now five years into the recovery, the shoppers are slowly coming back, but spending is still depressed and uneven. Retailers can use mobile apps to automate sales, perhaps permanently, or at least as a stopgap measure until the recovery becomes real and they decide to bring on new sales reps.

Many retailers expect the adoption of apps in stores to look similar to ATMs in banks. At first no one used ATMs, then later people preferred them to bank tellers, and would line up for the machines even if tellers were available in the bank. SuperSolver is responsive, yet low key. “Commissioned salespeople were so pushy during the recession that consumers ran away,” said Montoya.

Still reeling from the economic falloff, brick-and-mortar retailers are trying hard to raise productivity and looking for ways to boost sales one shopper at a time. They want better intelligence on the shopper and to understand their purchase patterns. Retailers plan to make customer databases a top priority and learn how to win sales without deep discounts. Heat maps of the stores will tell them where the traffic is concentrated and where they should focus. Noting when a customers checks the tags but doesn’t buy will give them valuable price-sensitivity data.

Shoppers have become savvy at bargain hunting online before the trek to the store, while in the store, and even after they get home. With all the transparency and easy comparisons, pricing power has shifted to the consumer. Retailers either must match prices or come up with differentiated offers.

The news is filled with stories of earnings disappointments for discount retailers and plans to scale back on stores or reduce labor to deal with slower foot traffic. Recently, Home Depot had to cut back on new store openings and shift marketing to online operations to cope with a perpetually slow economy. Last week, Best Buy reported its online sales rose during the holidays, but not enough to offset an overall decline in revenues. Discounting pummeled operating margins and caused a 30% drop in Best Buy’s stock price after the earnings announcement on Thursday. Best Buy said it plans to expand its web presence this year and invest in online marketing and customer databases.

Many apparel chains announced plans to close underperforming stores and pare thousands of workers in the past week. After an unsuccessful attempt at a turnaround, JC Penney said it planned to close 33 stores and cut 2,000 jobs to refocus on better performing stores. Even retailers with more successful strategies, like Macy’s, are rethinking the role of its physical outlets. According to the WSJ , the store chain has converted more than half of its 840 stores to handle fulfillment of online orders.

SuperSolver Takes Cues From Apple

Studies show retailers can increase sales by interceding at a few key moments when the shopper is in the store. It is critical to greet and direct shoppers when they come in, then offer product info when they look around for help. The best part about SuperSolver is it fires up when it’s needed. Most shoppers want to be left alone while they examine the inventory. Good salespeople give customers time to explore and allow for serendipity and impulse sales. Customers have a tendency to chafe at pushy salespeople who follow them around.

Apple took a clever approach when it opened its retail outlets. Apple stores achieve the highest sales per square foot in the electronics industry, yet the sales reps do not try to sell the products. A greeter directs people to the product display and a specialist gives product features, all without trying to sway the decision one way or the other. The prices are the same online as in the store, foiling comparison shoppers and eliminating the web as a distraction. Shoppers can opt to take the products or ship them home. Apple keeps minimal inventory at the stores, and draws products from the centralized distribution for the web.

Apple boasts one of the strongest brands in the world. It creates market barriers by connecting its products into a proprietary ecosystem, including iTunes, software and an array of devices. Apple took the high road and tried to differentiate its products rather than succumb to discounting. Other electronics giants fell into a downward spiral of price cuts and ended up with cluttered displays piled high with boxes and plugs./>/>

Wrap Up

Retailers want to avoid the trap of deep discounts that started with the recession. Last week, stores started reported a disappointing holiday season after they relied on heavy discounts to combat web sales, which hurt revenues and margins. Stores were hard hit by online sales where customers easily compare prices, using the store as a showroom to screen alternatives before making the purchase elsewhere. Shoppers keep websites open on their phones while cruising the aisles, so why not communicate with them?

SuperSolver is part of the new category of shopper apps may be the retailers’ best tool yet. Customers can use shopper apps to discover what’s in the store. SuperSolver  acts like a butler; it is unobtrusive yet helpful.

Source: Forbes


You Might Also Like


Sponsored Update

Update: 10

MRCB, Nusa Gapurna and PKNS settle suit over RM3 billion PJ Sentral project

Source: Malaysia Today

(The Malaysian Insider) – Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB), Nusa Gapurna Development Sdn Bhd (NGD) and PKNS Holdings Sdn Bhd have reached an out-of-court settlement over the ownership ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 21 2014, 2:53am CDT


Update: 9

Story behind Syed Mokhtar’s ‘RM2.25 billion tax-exempt’ Bernas deal revealed, says PKR MP

Source: Malaysia Today

(The Malaysian Insider) – An innocuous written reply in Parliament has provided a peek into the cosy relationship between the Najib administration and Malaysia’s best-known businessman, Tan Sri ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 15 2014, 12:56pm CDT

More From the Web

Update: 8

Constitutional monarchy still murky concept

Source: Malaysia Today

After the RM4.5 billion land sale, the Sultan of Johor secured a 15% stake in MOL Access Portal (MOL) for RM396 million and took a 20% stake in Berjaya Times. ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 14 2014, 12:37am CDT

Update: 7

Sultan of Johor’s RM4.5 bil backlash?

Source: Malaysia Today

49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Has Sultan Ibrahim of Johor’s succession of big money deals over the last six months caused the tide of public opinion to turn against Johor’s royal palace? KiniBiz examines the.. ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 11 2014, 8:49am CDT

Update: 6

Putrajaya denies carpet dealer given interest-free loan

Source: Malaysia Today

Eileen Ng, The Malaysian Insider Putrajaya today refuted allegations that Bank Rakyat had allowed carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan to repay a RM32 million loan without interest foll ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 11 2014, 5:44am CDT

Update: 5

Malaysia Spends Over $9 million on MH370 Hunt: Report

Source: NDTV

49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Malaysia has so far spent about RM27.6 million (over $9 million) on search operations for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an offici ...
Source: NDTV   Full article at: NDTV Jun 9 2014, 3:12am CDT

Update: 4

Bill for Kidex likely to soar to RM3.4b

Source: Malaysia Today

The original RM2.4 billion tag on the proposed highway did not take into account the cost of acquiring the land mostly in the urban areas, claims an assembly ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 9 2014, 2:51am CDT

Update: 3

MACC: No elements of graft in Bank Rakyat’s loan to businessman

Source: Malaysia Today

BET AWARDS '14 - Red Carpet
(Bernama) – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) found no elements of corruption in Bank Rakyat’s RM32 million interest free loan to a businessman. MACC in a statement t ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today May 31 2014, 9:33am CDT

Update: 2

IHH Healthcare posts 25% rise in 1Q earnings to $62 mil

Source: The Edge Singapore

IHH Healthcare Berhad announced that revenue grew by 8% y-o-y to RM1.8 billion ($703 million) for 1Q2014 ended March, as earnings grew 25% YoY to RM159.1 million. R ...
Source: The Edge Singapore   Full article at: The Edge Singapore May 29 2014, 11:29am CDT

Update: 1

Hasan Malek evades media over RM32 million Bank Rakyat loan scandal

Source: Malaysia Today

Elizabeth Zachariah, The Malaysian Insider The minister embroiled in the RM32 million Bank Rakyat loan scandal refused to take questions from the press today at an event in Kuala Lumpur.... READ ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today May 28 2014, 11:42pm CDT

Shopping Deals


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.




blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Cameron Diaz on Butts and Bouquets
Cameron Diaz on Butts and Bouquets
Cameron Diaz recently discussed facts regarding her butt and the bouquet her boyfriend bought for her.
Khloe Kardashian wants French Montana to make her Preggers
Khloe Kardashian wants French Montana to make her Preggers
Khloe Kardashian is so in love with French Montana that she wants him to make her preggers and thus have a baby together.
Rap Genius Rebrands Itself To Genius
Rap Genius Rebrands Itself To Genius
After weathering a couple of storms which included the inevitable firing of co-founder Mahbod Moghadam, Genius is rebranding itself to - a simpler yet fitting name for its ambitious goal.
Amelia Earhart Namesake Achieves her Goal
Amelia Earhart Namesake Achieves her Goal
A woman who was the namesake of the actual Amelia Earhart achieved her goal and thus brought name, fame and fortune to her family.