|By||http://e27.cohttp://e27.sg/2013/01/04/location-based-marketing-startup-sprooki-gets-a-big-push-from-yfind-indoor-gps-tech/||| Jan 4, 2013 | Mobile|
Location-based services are perhaps among the killer apps of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. With Singapore having about 150% mobile penetration rate and almost 100% smartphone penetration rate, businesses are taking heed, and have started to take advantage of these devices’ location-aware features in offering promos and services.
But while devices have GPS, indoor location-targeting is perhaps the holy grail of location services. GPS positioning is done by triangulation from satellites, which requires a user to be within line of sight of the sky. This usually makes it difficult for a smartphone to determine its location in an indoor setting, such as an office building, mall, school campus, and the like.
Startups and research facilities have been working at developing technologies that will aid in indoor location-targeting. YFind Technologies, for one, uses WiFi networks to determine a device’s location, in a system that could be the equivalent of GPS. The Singapore-based startup targets malls, retail establishments and airports, among others, and provides tracking for foot traffic, thereby deducing customer behavior from movement.
YFind actually got S$1.5 million in Series A funding in mid 2012 to further improve its “indoor GPS” technology. This could be the holy grail of location-targeted retail applications. In recent news, location-based marketing firm Sprooki has partnered with YFind for a seamless integration of both indoor- and outdoor-based location marketing.
Sprooki co-founder and managing director Claire Mula says the two companies are a good fit. “The combination of YFind’s patented positioning technology and Sprooki’s end-to-end local marketing platform and mobile applications results in a more powerful, cost-effective solution for retailers looking to engage with shoppers in and around the store,” she said.
Meanwhile, being able to target promos and discounts while customers are within a business establishment’s vicinity or location will help prevent the so-called “showrooming” effect, in which a customer would browse for items at a physical store but make the purchase online or at another place where the goods are cheaper. The partnership “offers retailers the opportunity to combat showrooming through discrete targeting of offers and rewards based on metrics such as time in store, visit frequency or walk-out behavior,” said YFind director and co-founder Melvin Yuan.
Sprooki’s system works as a white-label platform that targets mall and establishment owners. Mobile users can download their favorite mall or brand’s mobile application, and are alerted for promos, discounts and updates depending on their location.
Real-time business intelligence
More than just promos and discounts, of course, the beauty of location-sensing and tracking applications is in the data that these are able to collect. YFind’s location-intelligence dashboard, TheRetailHQ, tracks shopper movement and behavior in real time. This gives retailers a better way of understanding how consumers behave, where they spend time, and how they move throughout a store, and their likelihood in responding to promos. This results in real customer behavior data, instead of the hit-or-miss information that surveys will usually result in. Apart from the retail setting, business intelligence can also involve asset management, resource tracking and other applications.
While both companies are based in Singapore, Sprooki is also targeting brands and businesses across the Asia Pacific, as part of its recent raising S$590,000 to expand its presence in the region. As part of the partnership, Sprooki will also represent YFind in the APAC region, while YFind will market Sprooki’s white-label service to potential clients outside of the region, including the U.S.