Berlin marketing tech company SO1 wants to build the ultimate discount calculator – an algorithm-driven tool that can assess individual customers’ willingness to buy and predict how much cash a campaign will bring in before it kicks off.
The company, founded in 2012 and now a team of eight, this month raised a seven-digit euro sum from Munich VC firm Target Partners to extend and test its product. The focus right now is on brick-and-mortar retailers, with a pilot programme for “snail mail” coupons running in partnership with a large German supermarket chain, a loyalty card programme and market research agency GFK.
From a customer’s perspective, the process isn’t that different – sign-up for a loyalty card programme, receive discount coupons, claim them at checkout. Under the hood, SO1’s technology helps retailers figure out exactly what price point will work based on a particular customer’s buying history and offer coupons tailored to suit.
The technology can also be built into retailers’ mobile apps, with digital coupons claimed at normal checkouts by reading out a six-digit code. It could also be used in online stores, something the company will look into in 2014.
Customers in theory opt-in to have their data used in this way when they sign up for loyalty card programmes or agree to an app’s terms of service. Is there a risk of a backlash – especially when customers realise they’re not getting the same deal as their neighbour?
“We’re not expecting this to happen,” Bau said – especially since discounts for fast-moving consumer goods tend to be relatively low sums and arrive in bundles, which makes differences between products less obvious. “This is just something people have to get used to – people get it on the internet all the time.”
Image credit: Flickr user James Cridland
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