André Brown CEO, ATTRAQT (IRM57)
Why did you found the company and what keeps you motivated?
I co-founded the business in 2003 when ecommerce was still in its infancy. It was an exciting prospect and a great opportunity to develop ecommerce site search as a SaaS service to online retailers. I am delighted that the early promise has been borne out by the success of the business. We have managed to grow our client roster to 110 retailers across the UK, Europe and the US.
Working in an exciting industry with a technology that we believe in, and with a team that is motivated and supportive of our ambitions is what keeps me going.
What problem are you solving for ecommerce professionals?
The business now is very different from when we started in 2003. Today we provide an online visual merchandising platform to retailers, which acts as a plug-in to their ecommerce site and provides merchandising tools that enable the visual merchandising team to have complete control over how their products are merchandised online. The main problem that we have addressed for online professionals is that many are still using manual methods to manage their visual merchandising. This is further challenged by the fact that the online retail sector is highly competitive and continuously evolving. Retailers have to work to ensure consistency of merchandising across channels and across markets as they expand into new geographies. Our visual merchandising platform gives our clients the ability to closely manage how their products are merchandised to customers online and supports them in driving conversion rates and increasing customer loyalty.
Why is your solution fundamentally distinctive?
Our solution is distinctive in a number of ways;
Firstly, to our knowledge, we are the only supplier in the market able to provide three technological solutions in a single integrated platform – online visual merchandising, site search and product recommendations.
Secondly, our USP is our Balance Factor technology, which uses a simple slider system to create merchandising rules. The retailers select which site metrics are important to them and Balance Factor applies a weighting to those metrics to determine the blend and sequencing of products. Balance Factor enables non-technical users to create their own merchandising rules enabling tailored and targeted engagement with customers through their ecommerce sites. Balance Factor can be applied to category pages, search results, product recommendations and email.
Thirdly, underpinning the whole platform is a rules engine, which controls the behaviour of all three components of the platform. This means that if a retailer can identify the merchandising strategy they want to achieve and the conditions under which they want to achieve it, our platform can deliver it.
What do your customers say they value most about you?
Our customers say that we offer an easy to use platform, fantastic customer support and that we are a very easy company to deal with. They recognise the value our technology provides in delivering a step change in their conversion rate and driving online sales success.
What do you think the current big issues are for the sector? Why?
The main issues are competition and eroded customer loyalty – Black Friday/Cyber Monday showed just how competitive the online space is and how much the consumer is willing to shop around to get the best offers and discounts. The sector is continuously evolving and changing to anticipate and respond to changing consumer dynamics, so as a retailer and a supplier to the industry you need to be continuously monitoring market trends to ensure your offer meets the retailers’ needs.
What are the coming challenges and opportunities you see? How are you preparing for them?
The UK and US ecommerce technology markets are probably two of the most competitive marketplaces anywhere in the world. Our challenge is to constantly innovate and keep ahead of the competition. The great opportunity that we see is to extend the range of functionality that our platform provides to increase client usage, revenue and increase the value that clients perceive in our platform.
If you had to summarise your vision in a sentence, what would it be?
Our vision is to be the visual merchandising platform of choice for online retailers and I’m pleased to say that we’re making great progress towards achieving that goal!