The online advantage for retailers is obvious. Website analytics and transactional data allow e-commerce retailers to know exactly how their customers shop.
To help level the playing field, a startup company created by Georgia Tech students is piloting a new technology with several businesses in Ponce City Market that provides much of the same customer insight information to brick and mortar retailers.
The company, Countable Technologies, has devised a secure way of passively capturing a smartphone’s unique identifier, without apps or a network connection, to give retail businesses a slew of new data points on foot traffic to their stores, while maintaining customer anonymity and privacy.
“Privacy is one of our utmost concerns and our sensors that are placed in stores only passively talk to phones within range,” said Arvin Poddar, co-founder of Countable Technologies and a computer science student at Georgia Tech.
Along with an emphasis on privacy for store visitors, Poddar says what distinguishes Countable is its custom sensor technology, which offers high accuracy rates for measuring foot traffic. This allows the system to recognize new and returning customers, and measure how much time they stay in the store.
A store’s foot traffic data is then merged with its transactional data to create digital e-commerce reports using Countable’s data graphics and key performance indicators. With this information in hand, business owners have deeper insight into their new and returning customers. It also allows them to make more informed staffing, marketing, and advertising decisions.
“We give owners the ability to know more about visitor behavior and that helps them make decisions on how to improve their business,” said Poddar who touts his company as a ‘Google Analytics for the real world.’
“Website traffic metrics are the norm, and in a sense we’re aiming to capture similar metrics in the physical world by showing people’s habits at retail locations and being able to measure those habits,” he said.
In the future, Countable plans on spreading to other industries, including co-working spaces, clubs, and larger venues concerned with crowd metrics.
The team behind Countable includes Poddar, Georgia Tech business administration student Alex Madison, and University of Southern California computer science student Drew Cutchins.
Countable Technologies is part of CREATE-X, a Georgia Tech startup incubator training more than 40 teams through their Startup Launch Program this summer. The 140 founders on the teams include GT students, alumni, current local business owners, and other university students. They previewed their startups in June and will present at CREATE-X Demo Day, free and open to the public, on Aug. 22, from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. For more information, go to http://www.create-x.gatech.edu/.
Explore all the teams by market segment in an interactive data graphic from the GVU Center at Georgia Tech.