Start-Up Watch Company of the Day: Nearbuy Systems brings microlocation solutions to retail consumers

Posted by Jim Nichols on January 31st, 2011 at 12:00 am


It’s always interesting to see technology applied to problems that have challenged industry for decades. Nearbuy Systems  has just such an offering. Nearbuy for Stores offers retailers a way to provide microlocation services to consumers. There are four high level business use cases here:

  1. Provide in-store maps and “turn by turn” directions to consumers looking for a particular item. The company offers data that indicate that “Where is it?” is the number one consumer question in store.
  2. Providing virtual concierge services that help sales staff address customer needs at the location they express them
  3. Promote and deliver location-triggered promotions – either retailer specific or brand-driven
  4. Creating a differentiated virtual retail experience in store, to enhance the shopping experience and drive consumer loyalty

My first question when I ran across the company was…how can you really help me find Peter Pan Peanut Butter on the shelf? Getting me to a “general vicinity” doesn’t really help me enough. I need to know WHERE in Aisle 10 to be looking.

Oh me of little faith. Pshaw. According to the site, Nearbuy can direct a consumer to within three feet of a given item. That feels at least as accurate as most employees might be able to deliver me.

In addition to the primary benefits outlined above, shopper analytics can help inform retailer decisions about merchandising, shelf set and the like.

Nearbuy says its solution does not require the purchase of added infrastructure, which is a welcome claim for retailers who need to be very conscious of their costs. Further, the on-mobile-screen experience is fully brandable for greater consumer impact.

This company is a bit newer than most I have discussed so far. But they’ve begun to get some favorable press from tech pubs and retailer trades, including this quotation from Network Computing’s Lee H. Badman:

The back-end magic marries a given store's wireless network and video security system, as well as customers' smart phones, in a framework that could pay off for both shoppers and merchants alike.
For the customer, in-store maps and "go to" functionality mean never wondering where a given product is located. Need human help? Nearbuy's Micro-Location gets an employee to you, wherever you are. Location-aware promotions can keep dollars in patrons' wallets and ensure repeat business for those customers willing to use their smart phones interactively as they cruise the aisles.

The technology side of all this is well beyond me – it calls to my mind the Charlie Brown teacher voice. But the idea of providing these sorts of services in-store seems a fascinating way for retailers to improve consumer experience. I like it when technology makes lives simpler.

Nearbuy Systems also offers a microlocation system for warehouse management.

Did you know ad:tech is offering its first startup competition?

It’s an opportunity to tell your digital marketing startup's story in front of billions of dollars of brand marketing power! At ad:tech San Francisco (April 11-13), ad:tech’s Startup Spotlight Series will profile 16 startup companies with promising services and technologies for brands and marketers in Data, Social, Mobile, or Shopper Marketing.

To qualify, startups must:
• Focus their presentation on how they help marketers
• Have been founded since 2007
• Have moved beyond angel and seed funding and have venture capital funding
• Have a working beta or launched product
• Incorporate a new technology or platform or exploit a new behavior that helps today's digital marketers

Find out more and enter here!

Hurry! Submission deadline Friday, February 11, 2011 (no extensions). Even if I have written about your company here, you need to submit an entry to this official ad:tech competition!


Want to be considered for company of the day? Submit your company for consideration.

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