Ahead of the launch of the ‘Retail Insider Digital Retail Innovations Top 50’ report 2016 (sponsored by Webloyalty) on July 6 here is one of a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key digitally-driven innovations in the retail industry.
Q&A with Alexander Kayser, co-founder of yReceipts (placed at No.26 in the 2015 report)
1.How did the original idea come about?
Back in 2009 I came back to London from a business trip. I had to process my expenses, which was a very inconvenient process that started with trying to find the half-torn paper receipts. It continued with manually entering the amounts into our business expense software tool, and ended with printing the reports, scanning them and sending them off to some other team who would process them. That bad experience together with the super slick digital receipt service that Apple had been delivering in their retail stores for a while led to the initial plan to make a business out of offering a digital receipt solution to retailers enabling them to connect their in-store customers with transactions. Together with my co-founders Richard Druce and Scott Fletcher we took it on and set up shop in a spare room in our house. In January 2010 we sent the first digital receipt from a shop in Shoreditch – a fantastic feeling.
2. What has been the level of take-up of the service and what are the key ways retailers are using it?
The first three years were rather slow as retailers were only slowly starting to embrace innovative technologies in their retail stores. Following those years, the market started to open up and right now we are working with more than 200 retail brands from around the world. Every day we speak to new businesses who want to use our solution to connect in-store customers to transactions in order to unlock the tremendous value they can generate out of brick-and-mortar data in various ways.
3. What about competition in this area?
It depends a bit on the area you look at. Some companies focus more on the digital receipts themselves, while others provide services built on top of the data and yet others provide engagement platforms and use the receipt as a channel. We believe that focus is key to delivering a highly scale-able, value-generating, yet cost efficient products on the highest quality level. This is why we stand for connecting shoppers to transactions and connecting the data behind it to the best of breed solutions that our clients work with. Our proprietary software application is agnostic on all levels and can run in all environments.
4. How has the solution been developed over time?
The truth is we improve our solution every day and it is in an ongoing state of development. We get excited about the fact that software is never ready or in its final state – especially in this fast paced environment where technologies, expectations and methodologies change faster than ever before. We apply agile and test-driven processes in all areas of our business – even the way we sell our product is completed differently to several years ago. We are proud of where we have got to over the years but at the same time always looking ahead to further shaping this market.
5. Have there been any surprises along the way?
Many of them – we embrace surprises as great ways to learn, adapt and improve.
6. Tell us about the new innovations at yReceipts?
I need to be careful here: I am excited about all the big things we are working on but can’t really share any details. There are many projects – one in particular is a new product that will give any retailer the opportunity to create value in a way that wasn’t really available before. I am very excited about seeing it in action soon.
7. What can we expect from yReceipts in the future?
We believe a lot. More companies will use our solution. We will launch some very exciting new products. Our office in Paris is the third location following London and Sydney and you’ll see our technology being used on a large scale in France.
8. Do you have any recommendations for entries in the 2016 Digital Retail Innovations report?
I came across an interesting company the other day helping manufacturers who sell through concessions and multi-brand retail channels to track every single product. At the same time they developed a way which incentivises stockists to source every product a manufacturer produces for their own retail customers.
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