Keith Fix, Founder and CEO, Retail AwareKeith Fix, Founder and CEO
Historically, retailers have been capable of measuring consumer behavior from the time of purchase. But they had no understanding about the moment of truth, the moment when the consumer is at the shelf deciding whether or not to purchase a product. Though retail execution is carried out through a gamut of activities—from store audits to in-store merchandising—to influence the consumer, what happens at the shelf is a black hole for retailers. Set against this backdrop is Retail Aware. Through its unique BIaaS sensor platform powered by AI, the company enables retailers to analyze the consumer decisions at the point of purchase. “We are focused on measuring not even the last mile but the last footing, the moment of truth itself, to help retailers drive sales in real-time,” says Keith Fix, founder and CEO of Retail Aware.

Retail Aware offers customized solutions for retailers by harnessing the power of various analog sensing technologies. The company possesses a library of costeffective microsensors—either wireless,battery-powered, or wired—that can be deployed in stores to detect customer engagements. The various microsensors include ambient sensors, wireless thermal microsensors, wireless visual light microsensors, wireless temperature microsensors, and wireless switch microsensors. In retail stores, these microsensors are either attached to a fixture or display before shipping to the store or retrofit existing displays. Apart from the microsensors, the system consistssimply of a base station or hub. The credit-card-sized hub is plugged in and deployed anywhere in the store up to a range of 100 feet. In addition, the base station can run hundreds of microsensors.

By creating an ecosystem of different sensing technologies, retailers can measure parameters such as heat, light, temperature, motion, and vibration understanding in real-time what is happening with their shoppers. These parameters essentially provide various data insights regarding product engagement, audience, dwell time, and more. The proprietary microsensors used enable retailers to measure product engagement by detecting how many times the product is picked up, or the fridge door was opened. Similarly, the audience and footfall measurement count how many people walk within a radius of the sensor. Combining this data with product engagements, retailers are able to track conversions in real-time. Further, measuring dwell time allows retailers to know how long someone dwelled within the vicinity of each sensor and to utilize A/B testing to measure the effectiveness of messaging. The microsensors also provide operational insights that help retailers to remotely manage parameters such as the temperature of display fridges or coolers, the stock levels, and the placement of displays.

In a nutshell, Retail Aware empowers retailers to analyze and optimize the impact of retail execution in driving sales. “Our solution is like, what we call it, a Swiss Army Knife— single equipment that can be applied to any specific problem of clients,” remarks Fix.

Furthermore, Retail Aware has the unique ability to build data products over its sensor solution. Leveraging the same, the company has developed
‘Lift and Learn’ to trigger content out of the box with compatible digital signage CMS systems. For instance, if a product is picked up from the display, it triggers content on the screen.

We are focused on measuring not even the last mile but the last footing, the moment of truth itself, to help retailers drive sales in real-time

The typical engagement of Retail Aware while offering its ingenious solutions begins with the analysis of the client’s data problem. Once the problem is realized, the company recommends the required sensor from its central microsensors library. For instance, to identify out of stock, light sensors are recommended. Also, to measure dwell time or footfall, an ambient sensor can be used. Once the microsensor system is deployed, the data is collected in real-time.

Retail Aware allows integration with existing tools and systems such as power BI, Tableau, or SAP through the plugin of its simple REST API. Besides, the company facilitates access to data insights through a web portal, proprietary out-of-the-box dashboards, and reports. Retail Aware also tracks the data goals set and makes modifications in the process, ensuring that the client requirements are met.

Illustrating the efficiency of its ingenious solutions, the CEO highlights an instance where Retail Aware helped a global alcohol brand to measure the effectiveness and media value of its product displays deployed at various store locations. Leveraging the microsensors, they were able to detect that the execution rate was lower than expected. This helped the marketing team to reevaluate the program for increasing the execution rate. Further, measuring the product engagement, Retail Aware provided data conversion information. A timestamp is obtained when a product is picked up from the shelf, and conversely, when its put back, the time stamp goes to zero. This helped Retail Aware to provide information on whether the shelf was empty or not. Along with these data points, the sensors were able to check A/B messaging on display enabling the brand to understand its impact in real-time. These data insights helped the brand to revamp its strategy for better execution of the in-store program. The brand was impressed by Retail Aware’s offerings and continues to buy sensors for optimizing their retail execution.

Having carved a unique niche in the industry, Retail Aware has sensors launched in more than 200 markets today. The company plans to expand to 100,000 locations in the next several years. Further, Retail Aware looks forward to partnering with other sensor manufacturers, thus incorporating more sensors to the platform. “We strive to be a toolkit for our clients, whether it’s a retailer or brand, to be the analog sensor provider for answering their data questions,” concludes Fix.