Swipii wants to be the marketing suite for the hyperlocal retailer
Each week we profile a tech startup, find out more about their business and what its plans are for the future. This week, we spoke to Chitresh Sharma, CEO and co-founder of Swipii
What is your company and what do you do?
Swipii is a complete, automated marketing suite for independent retailers. Our vision is to become the Salesforce.com of hyperlocal retail. We give the power of systems such as Tesco’s Clubcard to local independent businesses.
We place a customer-facing iPad next to the point of sale system at the retailers we work with and craft a unique rewards programme for them to allow their customers to sign-up via a free card or app that can be used across all Swipii locations.
Tell us a little about your career to date?
I was born and brought up in India, and came to the UK for a Masters degree in International Marketing at Strathclyde University at the age of 22. While working towards my degree I started developing the Swipii business and brand with my co-founder and now COO Louis Schena. Swipii was a completely different idea back then, but it has evolved to be a complete retail CRM today.
What services or products do you offer and how will businesses and/or consumers benefit?
We are the first automated marketing suite built to solve a multi-billion Dollar problem faced by small-scale bricks and mortar retail businesses. These businesses often suffer from poor levels of customer data collection due to a lack of time and resources, which leads to the second problem of no follow up communication to help increase repeat visits and drive customer loyalty.
Swipii provides an iPad at the point of sale that allows the retailer to capture customer data quickly and easily. We then support the merchant by creating targeted offers and promotions designed specifically to encourage repeat business, increasing footfall, boosting revenue and promoting customer loyalty.
Swipii also provides the business with the data and insights they need to help track customer behaviour including percentage of return visits and rewards redeemed.
The end users of Swipii receive a fun and easy way to earn and redeem loyalty points at a number of different locations on both a regional and national level. Because Swipii users can earn points at a range of outlets, they can build up points quickly, meaning they can redeem rewards frequently.
Tell us one thing your company does that no one else can do?
Our product allows hyperlocal businesses to capture essential data and a mechanism to target their marketing to loyal customers. Swipii differs from traditional loyalty cards through its
technological offering which provides precise data, helping businesses improve their offering and attract repeat business.
Where is the company based and why?
We are based in Glasgow and London. Louis and I went to university in Glasgow, so we know the city well and the operational cost of running a business there is very economical compared to other major UK cities. We branched out to open our operations in London in 2016 to continue our sales growth as it has the highest number of potential small and medium-sized business clients.
How big is your company and what are your technology demands?
We have recently dramatically expanded our team from seven to 46 across Glasgow and London to support our growth plans.
Our tech team is currently building a solution that allows Swipii to integrate with a large number of existing retail point of sale solutions adding more value to those businesses and end users.
Where do you see your company in the next five years?
We hope to continue to grow the business as we have been doing, and over the next year alone we expect to grow our client-base of small businesses by 350%, so in five years, we see Swipii as being the equivalent of salesforce.com in the global hyperlocal market.
How can the UK government help start-ups in the UK and will Brexit have any impact?
The Government can support start-ups by providing more backing to developing skills, particularly for technical roles. Streamlining the visa processes and rules could certainly help plug this skill gap and help UK businesses attract the best international talent.
We expect Brexit to have a negative impact affecting the stream of international talent into UK businesses. Trading and business structures may now become more complicated than other European countries, particularly for firms looking to tap into the European single market.
Which tech company do you personally admire and why?
I admire Spotify a lot for their tech culture and agile approach.