The company’s software stack does the sort of tracking that uses things like roaming Wi-Fi from smartphones, as well as in-store sensors, to attach anonymous personas to consumers and then develop rich analytics around shopper behaviors. The platform can work with smartphones to send out tailored messaging, but the greater interest is in what the platform generates on how consumers shop in-store, on phones and online.
The platform can deliver real-time data triggers to push messages to screens that are probably relevant to that shopper, at that moment.
“The holy grail of advertising for our retail clients is tying a mobile persona to a buying history and making that actionable in store via digital signage and mobile engagement. This 360 degree view of the customer – linking online interests to in-store behavior – is what makes Walkbase so valuable,” says Chris Riegel, CEO of STRATACACHE. “I have been in the tech industry for 25 years, and this is one of those moments when you realize the power of a specific technology to help a customer deliver on their vision. I was absolutely blown away with what the Walkbase technology brings to our customers. We will help physical retailers fight back against Amazon and Google by marrying online activity and in-store behavior at the point of decision.”
Walkbase’s about us page says: At Walkbase, our dream is to equip and enable the high-street dinosaur to bite back and embrace it’s unique touch to the shopping experience. The Walkbase platform provides real-time analytics on customers’ habits so the same level of personalisation can apply in-store as it does online. It analyses in-store customer behaviour, measures and optimises the ROI of marketing campaigns, engages customers with personalised in-store marketing, and links the online and offline customer journeys together.
This is the latest in a series of acquisitions by Riegel, the founder and sole owner of STRATACACHE. Deal terms weren’t released, but Riegel says it was anything but a fire sale, noting a deal that didn’t happen for someone else, going back to around the start of the year, valued Walkbase at around $30 million. Riegel bought the company, he says, “Lock, stock and barrel.”
I asked the ever-acquisitive Riegel if he is done building his empire.
One hint – this recent announcement between PRN, which Riegel acquired 2-3 years back, and the Belgian firm iDklic seems very vague and squishy, and not the sort of thing Riegel would do unless there was something a lot more tangible going on than “forming a partnership.”
With respect to Walkbase, Riegel says he looked at about 10 companies as he was mulling a strategic acquisition, and liked these guys because of their academic pedigree, the fact that they are all about the software and not trying to peddle a hardware gadget (that will get copied and commoditized in Shenzhen), and a real focus on shopper behaviors across online and bricks and mortar. He said the ability to plug in a platform that can drive and trigger suggestive selling messages or ones that are clearly relevant to that shopper’s persona (she tends to buy these things) is golden, and what bricks and mortar operators want and need.
“Every consumer experience in retail should be a tailored experience, when there is an opportunity to do so,” says Riegel.
The Walkbase solution, says the deal’s press release, uses existing in-store technology – such as Wi-Fi enabled devices and access points, digital signs, sensors and beacons – to understand precisely how customers behave in stores, in real time. The solution then ties that behavior to their online persona, enabling every message, via the digital sign or mobile device, to be tailored to the relevant interests of the consumer. Every aspect of the customer’s experience can be anonymously analyzed, customized and mapped – from moving throughout the store to what’s being viewed and, ultimately, what results in a sale.
Deep behavioral insights tied to online identity and in-store transactions allow retailers to use the STRATACACHE platform to create experiences that engage customers via any device they choose, such as a digital sign, tablet or smartphone. They can then target relevant messaging based on the customer’s persona. Further, utilizing Walkbase’s robust, modular analytics dashboard and advanced artificial intelligence algorithms, retailers and marketers can confidently automate highly targeted messaging in real time.
“The fit between Walkbase and STRATACACHE could not be better culturally, as well as the alignment of our complementary technologies and meeting customer goals,” says Tuomas Wuoti, Walkbase CEO. “We believe it is the perfect platform to take the Walkbase technology and offering to the next level of global scale.”
Walkbase will continue to operate as a business unit within STRATACACHE, out of Turku, Finland. The platform, not surprisingly, has an API that will plug in with the mother ship’s CMS platforms, which include Activia and the softwares developed and supported by Scala and Real Digital Media.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 13 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.