“We want to give retail stores the same edge as e-commerce platforms”

Aniruddha Nanivadekar and Sunny Harisinghani talk about their Hot 100 2017 winning startup InteliTaap Solutions, which provides in-store consumer behaviour analysis. By Satyaki Sarkar

With the massive surge in e-commerce traditional brick and mortar stores are feeling the heat, and some are choosing to also take their stores online. Those who aren’t and are sticking with the old business model have to grapple with changing customer demands and stiff competition. Helping them retain and grow customers is a technology-based behavioural analysis company called Intelitaap Solutions. Long-time friends and sales and marketing professionals Sunny Harisinghani and Aniruddha Nanivadekar started InteliTaap Solutions in January 2016. They discovered there was a growing need for in-store consumer behavioural analysis for retailers and retail stores. So they decided to tap into that demand.

How it works
“We provide sensors that are specially designed to understand the presence of a smartphone inside the store,” explains Aniruddha. “Our sensors run on a proprietary firmware and are connected to the door counter. Through them we are able to calculate, understand and learn the number of customers entering, the time of entry, time spent in the store and at a particular aisle, if a purchase was made, etc. This gives the retailer a complete demographic analysis of the store’s customers. This is extremely vital because, for instance, the demographics of a store in south Mumbai would be very different from that in suburban Mumbai. Therefore the merchandising and pricing strategy also needs to be different.

“The sensors are able to detect individual smartphones inside the store, so when a consumer enters he/she is assigned a global unique ID and their movement patterns are tracked throughout the store, this continues every time they return. The sensors simply isolate distinctive signals from a smartphone to identify each of them as unique. The only data we gather is related to the consumer’s buying patterns. What we are trying to do right now is check the efficacy of a store aisle, see if it is being merchandised properly, etc. This helps the retailer understand investments in products on that aisle and whether that is efficient enough to make a turnover.”

Differentiating factor
“What sets us apart is our AI engine and time triangulation technology, which we use to precisely pinpoint the exact customer location within the store, including the aisle he/she is in, and the products being looked at.”

Driving customer connect and revenue
“As with any startup, customer acquisition was a challenge,” says Sunny. “So we started applying to various retail focused accelerator programmes, and got selected by two of them. Through them we got through to the Reliance Smart stores, and the likes of Aditya Birla Group, and a few other companies. Right now we charge on a monthly subscription basis. Based on the store size and the number of aisles we install the required number of devices, for which we charge every month. Additionally, we also have a one time setup cost. So for the first six months we offer discounted pricing, until we have enough data to work with.”

“Since our start, with a team of just three people, we have been able to reach several huge retailers and establish a B2B connection, which is incredibly difficult for a startup at our stage,” adds Aniruddha. “Month on month we’ve seen a 100 per cent growth in terms of engagement with customers. If we are being realistic, the company is going to break even 15 months from now. Right now, we are bootstrapped, and are looking to raise funds. Our goal is to work with the top five retailers in the country in next one year.” 

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