Shopping or Retail Therapy as some would like to call it is very dynamic and trends change with the customer, country, economic conditions, technology and more. But there’s no denying that the Retail industry is indispensable and a big contributor to a country’s growth. The last few years have seen Indian retail space change significantly with affordable internet, smartphones and arrival of online shopping. While the bigger market players have embraced the changes, the smaller peers are yet to change and adapt.
Fixing Small Business’ Big Problem
The technological empowered change in consumer buying behaviour has left the micro, small and local businesses in a fix as they are finding it difficult to compete with big retailers and are losing footfall and a repeat business. Lomoso Solutions Pvt Ltd, Ahmedabad, is a technology startup empowering these businesses with affordable and AI enabled technology for customer engagement. The local businesses have a huge market share but are lagging due to poor customer engagement outside their business premises. Lomoso came-up with an affordable technology solution Walkins –an AI based, easy to use, low cost, integrated, data analytics based customer engagement platform available on mobile and web.
Lomoso’s Walkins is a brainchild of Gaurav Sutaria and Taral Shah, Co-founders and childhood friends sharing enthusiasm, risk-taking capacity and passion to help society and complimenting each other’s capabilities. Gaurav’s stronghold is sales and marketing and Taral chips-in with his expertise in cloud computing and is an AWS certified system architect.
Of Hits and Misses
The story of Walkins starts with the problem of sales in the local business. The first solution introduced was OneHop but its market fitment or acceptance was not as per mark and was scrapped. Team Lomoso then leaned down on operations, took no salaries for months and with high resilience and conviction, kept building, motivating everyone, aligning everyone with company’s goal and vision, continuously staying in touch with customers, taking feedback and making a product and business roadmap more specific, measurable, and attainable.
The resultant was Walkins, a powerful technology platform which provides various customer engagement tools to small businesses, simplifies all the tools and techniques using integrated technology and helps them connect to their store walk-ins. It also collects their store’s data, digitizes and organizes them and stores it on a centralized location for reuse. The beauty is the ePage, a dynamic micro website with built in SEO and browser-based notification and a customized loyalty program, which helps businesses to reward their customers on each trade and encourage them for the repeat visit to their store at the right moment.
The Industrial Temperament
There is a big opportunity in India for Retail solutions as shown by statistics which says there are thirty small and micro businesses and eleven retailers amongst thousand citizens. Being meticulous, Lomoso surveyed the market to find out the current challenges and how Walkins can solve them. They found that small businesses do not gather store visitor’s information; have digitized customer data; use digital medium; adapt to technology and use business insight.
To solve these issues, the Walkins platform provides – easy to use, and affordable solution; collection, digitization, organization and storage of store visitor’s info, at a centralized location; meaningful communication on customer’s preferred medium; Business intelligence, providing insight into business to make future decisions.
Embracing Technology and Recognition
The company believes in having a hyper-scalable technology architecture which is able to meet the changing requirements and allows plug and play of new features or services with a minimum effort across the entire customer base. Walkins was created to provide this convenience to stores. Its focus is on Business Insights, software integration and use of emerging technology such as BOT, Artificial Intelligent and Machine learning. The company has also developed an IP named RoamingSE, for internal use, created to automate Feet-on-Street process. It captures all information about sales team from store visit to follow-ups, meetings, payment, collection and lead tracking. It believes in automation and has automated all its process whether it is for monitoring, code management or deployment, testing, helping it to save lots of efforts and avoid any human errors.
The company won the Grand Challenge in Vibrant Gujarat Summit. It has also been recognized as a start-up by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion under “Start-up India” and as an innovator by “Start-up Gujarat”. Besides, a prestigious “Trend Setter” certificate by Gujarat Innovation Society truly defines its success voyage.
Working as a Family
Gaurav and Taral treat employees as colleagues and an integral part of the start-up, building a team of passionate and talented dreamers making sure that the team stick together as a family and support each other during difficult challenges. Everyone is aware of his or her duties and works in line with the company’s goal. They sit with individuals and regularly provide them with feedback on the area of improvement, discuss their growth and recognize and reward great performances and successes. Various events are organized for the whole team and it is made sure that work-life balance is maintained and that people are working happily.
Walking Towards Future
Being a startup company and into the entrepreneurial shoes themselves, Gaurav and Taral advise budding ones to take some risk, develop a business plan and take a plunge with full passion. “Just remember three words adaptation, resilience and conviction”, they added.
Lomoso and Walkins journey to provide ammunition to small businesses in customer engagement and empower them with the latest and greatest technologies to fight against the common issues continues. As a step towards the future, it has started with the affordable SaaS model for quick and better adaptation. Its vision is to not only build a product for its customers but also for the end consumers and provide them with the better deal at right time on a right medium and convert it into commerce over conversation.