Startups offer retailers new technology to fight competition

Tags: News
Companies, which base their businesses using location-based offerings, are looking to tap retail and food chains, malls, corporate canteens, colleges among others. Some have products that will allow tap-and-pay electronic payments, and others a beacon to send tailormade offers to customers.

“We are looking at tapping company canteens, colleges, food retail chains and banks. The tap-and-pay mode of payment with use of NFC is safe for customers,” said Soma Sundaram, CEO and founder of iKaaz Softwares, a mobile payments company providing tap-and-pay solutions using near-field communication (NFC).

There is a big opportunity for electronic payments as about 90 per cent of the transactions are cash-based, he said.

Consumers can use iKaaz NFC tags that can be stuck on the back of the phone and be linked to any credit, debit or a prepaid card, converting the phone into a usable mobile wallet, he said. The NFC payment mode is free for customers as the company gets revenues from merchants. The company is planning for a series A funding shortly.

Another player, BeaconStream, is using beacon technology for proximity-based mobile marketing and advertising. A beacon is a small devices that is installed at the merchant location and works on blue-tooth technology to transmit messages or prompts to a smartphones or tablets.

“Malls are facing competition from e-commerce firms as they are beating them with targeted offers. So malls are looking at beacons positively,” said Gautam Mandewalker, chief technology officer, BeaconStream.

Analytics will be provided to merchants to understand the customer trends better as well as measure the impact of promotional data. The device, priced about Rs 2,500, have to be bought by merchants. One beacon can cover about 250 sq ft area, he said.

Merchants are also charged on the basis of number of notifications sent to customers. There will also be a monthly subscription model. The company targets to enroll 1,000 enterprises in a year with multiple devices installed.

It also has plans to introduce a wallet service to complement the notifications.

Zippr, a Hyderabad-based startup, is using location-based technology to solve the problem of explaining complex addresses by converting it into a eight character code, which can be shared. In one year, it has seen its user base increase significantly. It has also raised Rs 6 crore funding recently.

Zippr integrates with various mapping technologies like Google Maps, Open Street maps and makes the location search easier by presenting the location and the route on a map. “Zippr is seeing some interesting use cases around analytics for large enterprises and plans to work with banks, hospitals and state governments to use smart addresses using Zippr to provide better services for their audiences,” said Aditya Vuchi, CEO of Zippr.



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