The Silicon Review
E-commerce and mobile commerce have dramatically changed the way brands reach customers, making it faster and easier for consumers to make purchases on the fly while avoiding the hassles of going to the store.
Go Instore is a unique technology that closes the gap between the online and offline worlds. The platform partners with leading global brands including Dyson, Porsche, Cartier, Marriott International and Knight Frank.
Go Instore was incorporated in 2012 and is headquartered in London, UK.
Go Instore, Andre Hordagoda Co-founder, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.
Rewind: Starting Off on the Right Foot
Aman and Andre had known each other since high school but went their separate ways to university. Career paths crossed after 10 years, and they began working together for an AI-driven personalization technology firm delivering behaviour-led personalized content on retail websites. Using personalization in the digital channel was a means to replace the advice and help of a human interaction – customers receive in-store. This, coupled with the fact that conversion rates online were typically just one-tenth of instore conversion rates, lead them to hypothesize that if you could deliver an instore experience online, you’d be able to affect engagement, conversion rates and average order values to a degree far greater than algorithms. The human touch was the biggest factor in ‘considered purchase’ buying decisions.
“Once we had hatched the concept, our next step was to figure out how best to connect website customers to the store,” says Aman Khurana, co-founder, Go Instore. “We wanted to avoid a simple text-based solution as live chat style services were already common place, and using a store member’s valuable time on text chat seemed a step backwards. Video, or live video, seemed the next best evolution, and would enhance the engaging element of what they were trying to achieve.”
Around this time, smart glasses were gaining a lot of interest, so Aman and Andre experimented with arming instore staff with glasses that could capture and stream a point of view field of vision from the store to the customer, whilst maintaining a two-way audio communication channel. While there was interest, the novelty of wearing these rudimental early devices soon wore off. Though now poised to take advantage of improving wearable technology, Go Instore’s agnostic software meant they were able to successfully adopt the smartphone as the main tool for the store staff. Smartphones compatibility helped position the technology to scale across retail networks.
Moving quickly from their Minimum Viable Product stage through monthly iterations based on their early clients in automotive and retail, they quickly evolved the Go Instore technology to a point where it was reliable and easy to establish a completely new way for businesses to engage with their customers. They now have an impressive roster of international brands across Retail, Automotive, Hospitality and Real-estate, all benefiting from being able to deliver high definition live video interactions with their customers through their websites.
Guarding Consumer Interests in Highly Volatile Market: A Terrific Treat
Consumers that access the service on Go Instore’s client’s websites are presented with a short survey at the end of every Go Instore session. This is a fantastic way for both clients and product teams to gain valuable insight into the experiences delivered. Quite often the staff that delivers the service gets glowing references, but they also get feedback on how they felt the service worked for them. In the early days, the quality of the video stream was a challenge, often due to network connectivity. However, we did find that even when the visual experience was not rated as highly as it is now, customers still rated the overall experience of connecting to an in-store product expert in real-time and having their queries dealt with, very highly.
The great news is we’ve come a long way since then and are now able to deliver high definition experiences, with autofocus and adjustable exposure, all in real-time.
Pushing Boundaries: Above and Beyond
We are largely client-led, however, in some instances, we need to push ahead with a gut decision that perhaps the client hasn’t considered. Interestingly, before we hatched the idea, the huge 10x disparity between in-store and online conversion rates was not seen as a problem.
There was one instance where a major client of ours in the consumer electronics space wanted us to develop a feature that didn’t feel like it was part of our core offering. The ability to broadcast to an unlimited amount of views on their website, (the Broadcaster Module) seemed like a deviation from our one-to-one ethos. In time, we found that this module could be blended back into the one-to-one offering, delivering content and messaging to customers when store staff were unavailable. The feature has been a huge success for our clients, blending live, recorded live and re-playable content in an extremely easy to shoot, post and manage package.
We are a (live) video-first company. Our starting point was live streaming and we’re continuing to innovate by pioneering commercially tangible applications for mixed and augmented reality. It’s an extremely exciting space.
Overview: Products to be Launched
We’ve just launched V2 of the Go Instore solution which offers a major leap forward for us in terms of functionality and usability. Much of our development work prior to this was back-end focused around stability and scalability. Now, this is done, 2019 will be the year where we really push the envelope in terms of enhanced experiential B2C engagement. Watch this space!
Go Instore Leadership: A Brief Background
Andre Hordagoda: Andre Hordagoda is a seasoned Business Development professional with more than 15 years of experience in the technology and e-commerce sector, ranging from email, analytics and data through to personalisation. Mr. Hordagoda has worked with and grown three startup businesses through various growth stages.
Aman Khurana: Aman Khurana started his career as a Technical Consultant and in time went on to head up the commercial division for his own start up. He has been exposed to a 360-degree view of technology-based projects during his career. Mr. Khurana has over a decade of experience in technology solution sales.
“We are a (live) video-first company. Our starting point was live streaming and we’re continuing to innovate by pioneering commercially tangible applications for mixed and augmented reality. It’s an extremely exciting space.”