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By adaptive - March 21st, 2016
A company born in Melbourne, Australia, expanding into London with an eye on the US market knows a thing or two about location. Its name, Localz, is derived from the word, and it aims to help consumer-facing companies turn patrons into just that: locals/repeat consumers. But it’s also more than this. Tim Andrew, co-founder/commercial director for Localz shared with Open Mobile Media’s Robert Gray.
OMM: Localz promises to make firms more efficient and ease friction around payments. How does the platform work?
Andrew: We help companies trigger events based on the location of something or someone in the real world. What your phone is next to, or near to, in the real world, you can trigger interesting things with that.
There are three core things on the platform:
1. We trigger content, as you get near the stadium it brings your tickets up to the lock screen; if you’re near a product it can put further information about it on the lock scream, or check me in and add me to checked-in list or change advertising content because I’m in this store
2. Asset tracking, where is this person or thing? Tracking movement of devices, helping logistics firms track trucks, trolleys in warehouses
3. Using location as a secure location for payment. Check out, put in loyalty program, get receipts, make payments, when I’ve left the bar and crossed the threshold with my phone, take payment from my account.
With the combination of these three you can do all sorts of different experiences and business efficiency plays.
OMM: Localz made its name so to speak on click and collect, winning a contest at U.K. retailer John Lewis (who later invested in Localz’s seed round). What’s your play in this area that has quickly become an omnichannel favorite for consumers?
Andrew: An area we’ve focused on the most in the past 12 months is helping businesses with an efficiency play, using their resources better, and improving customer experiences. Click and collect (“in-store pickup” in the US) has been growing in popularity, one reason is retailers say people who do this spend more money with them than those who shop just in-store or only online.
The retail format wasn’t designed for thousands of parcels turning up in the store. We help them check a parcel into the store when it arrives, the platform notifies customers, and checks the parcel in to a location-- on which shelf so 30 people know where it is. When the customer is close by it can send a notification, ask if they want to pick up.
Because customers tend to turn up in waves you don’t need staff on that desk at all times.
Responses have been really good for that. Now we have an out-of-the-box solution for this.
OMM: What’s the story behind the name?
Andrew: All retailers want is to make tech work, not think about the tech. It’s all about making location tech easy, so the name Localz came out of it. We didn’t want to drop any vowels so we added a Z to it.
OMM: Who are some of your clients?
Andrew: We are in a few hundred Woolworth’s supermarkets in Australia, a few Boots stores in the UK, as well as John Lewis.
We’re also eyeing some other big brands including one in the United States.
OMM: What’s the next move for Localz?
Andrew: Once we’ve got further with efficiency stuff, payments/coupons/loyalty, we want to make the financial transaction invisible--take away the entire interface for payments. For some payments that are secure enough, you can walk out the door. Why queue up at the till? Why take a card out of my pocket? We started talking to supermarkets about removing checkout altogether. Instead of scanning at self-checkout, you scan as it goes into the basket. When your phone crosses the threshold, it’s charged. You can defeat theft with random checking.
You take out checkouts, increase retailing space; it’s a huge efficiency gain. This isn’t going to happen this year because it’s a cultural thing. There are experiences out there where payments are taken out of their account. Uber is the most obvious example, you just exit the car and don’t know how much it was or if they’ve charged you the right amount or not. Are consumers ready for this at Walmart? I don’t know. The biggest issue is trusting the brand will charge them the right amount.
OMM: What does your platform do now that wasn’t part of the proof of concept and maybe surprised you?
Andrew: The surprising thing is it’s not really about marketing. Our focus is really around business efficiency, how can we help retailers, banks, to take things out of the process and free up that resource to do other things instead.
When we started we thought most of what people wanted was around marketing. A couple of years ago retailers thought people walking about would come into a store and we’ll give an offer.
The surprise was that’s not really taken off, partly because bigger retailers don’t have marketing-offering engines to make that happen in the moment. The best they could do is add your name to top of generic offer.
We think if we’re putting something on your device it has to be relevant, respectful and rewarding.
If you send three things on my phone that are not relevant to me, I’ll delete you. You want to make sure you’re not being irrelevant. It’s two taps to delete an app but about 20 to install.