The moment you open Amazon.com, your entire retail experience is personalised, down to the promotions you see and the products you are pushed.
That’s because e-commerce is a data-driven industry, and websites know a lot about customers who stumble on to their websites.
Physical stores however, where 90% of all retail purchases still occur, know nothing about the customers who walk in their doors.
Nomi (pronounced Know Me) is a new startup founded by former Buddy Media and Salesforce executives. It brings real-time customer data to brick and mortar stores.
By leveraging shoppers’ cell phones.
Nomi’s team gives retailers a snippet of code that lets wireless routers listen for nearby smart phone signals. The wireless routers can detect unique Media Access Control (MAC) codes from smart phones and then collect non-invasive data about customers in real-time. Its founders say no personal information will be pulled; store owners won’t even know shoppers’ names. “It’s completely passive and completely anonymous,” co-founder Corey Capasso, 25, tells us.
Instead, Nomi will show retailers how many customers visit each day, the average time spent in the store, and new versus repeat visitors.
Nomi’s first two products are called Listen and Measure. Listen is an infographic-style analytics dashboard that shows non-invasive data (see below). Measure is a marketing optimization platform for physical stores. For example, it can measure the impact a new window display has on foot traffic, or how many people visit a store following a Facebook promotion.
Some billion-dollar brands are already testing Nomi, Capasso says.
Investors are loving the concept. The founders were able to get $3 million wired into their bank account just 13 days after their first investor meeting. First Round Capital led the seed round with participation from Greycroft Partners, SV Angel, Forerunner Ventures, Ralph Mack, David Tisch, Andy Dunn and Sam Decker.
“This is a huge market with a killer team that knows how to solve customer problems and sell,” Chris Fralic, a partner at First Round Capital tells Business Insider. “I don’t think there is a bigger issue impacting e-commerce than online and offline coming together, and Nomi is a great example of that.”
While he admits the 13-day turnaround may have been swift, Fralic says First Round has known Capasso and his co-founder Marc Ferrentino for years.
Prior to founding Nomi, Capasso founded four other companies. He’s best known for Spinback, an e-commerce data company which was acquired by Buddy Media. The deal was mostly stock, which turned out well when Buddy Media was later acquired by Salesforce for $689 million.
Ferrentino was the former Chief Technical Architect of Salesforce, although he left before Capasso’s startup was acquired. Wesley Barrow, Nomi’s third co-founder, was Buddy Media’s top revenue producer.
Capasso says the timing for a startup like Nomi has never been better. But as more shopping dollars are spent online, is it smart to be working with local retailers? Netscape co-founder and tech investor Marc Andreessen recently predicted the demise of physical stores altogether.
Capasso doesn’t buy it.
“As a consumer, you shop online or you shop in stores. I don’t look at it as offline versus online. It’s all commerce. The ‘e’ can go away,” he says.
“Because what does ‘brand’ mean? It’s a symphony of experiences. The touch and feel of the products, trying things on, interacting with sales associates, the smell of a store — that will never be online. The ‘e’ should be for ‘experience.'”