Two-year old software company Index, founded by former Google Wallet engineer Jonathan Wall and product lead Marc Freed-Finnegan, is focused on the physical world of commerce. Payments today work just fine, contends CEO Freed-Finnegan, but what about the other possibilities?
At Index, the company works to help retailers identify their customers so they can personalize the customer experience and ultimately sell more, Index’s Freed-Finnegan said in a recent podcast interview with Market Platform Dynamics CEO Karen Webster.
(jump to: 2:40) “I think what we really want to help do is link the customer experience, link the personalized content, and link the marketing that people do to the moment of transaction – to the moment of conversion,” said Freed-Finnegan. That, he said, is what people do online.
In terms of the payments market, Index is looking to link data on the individual customer to the payments stream, measuring how effective marketing and different experiences are to the sale.
Retailers today could benefit from the data that Index gathers, said Freed-Finnegan, because, while many of them understand how things are sold, they do not fully understand how many customers they have, nor the unique experience of each customer.
(jump to: 4:53) “Retailers certainly have transaction data, but they really don’t have customer data,” he said. “When you ask a question how many customers someone has, and how frequency is trending, people just don’t know.”
The second issue retailers have is making sense of the data they collect, Freed-Finnegan added. Generating reports is largely an academic process, but where data actually becomes interesting, is when it becomes actionable, he said.
(jump to: 5:30) “When you deliver the right recommendations, or even price incentives to drive profitability, that’s what we think is most exciting. We are measuring the impact of our recommendations to really prove the ROI of everything we do,” said Freed-Finnegan.
At Index, data collected and the privacy of that information are big themes. In both cases, the company has a clear perspective – first, the customer experience must be clearly opt-in. Second, Index does not share sensitive customer data with other customers, Freed-Finnegan said.
Who, then, are Index’s target customers? According to Freed-Finnegan, Index is reaching out to the top 100 U.S. retailers and is focusing on quick service, the casual order-at-the-counter experience. There, the company is gathering a number of partners. Other categories Index is looking into are natural foods and specialty retail.
Index, Freed-Finnegan said, maintains a firm belief in the future of physical retail.
(jump to: 11:40) “If retailers truly personalize the experience and make stores competitive differentiators, we think there’s a really exciting future, even for physical retail,” he said. “I hope that Index technology will provide a really great foundation for a lot of these experiences.”
To learn more about Index technology and its personalization of the retail customer experience, listen to the full podcast by clicking below.
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Before founding Index, Marc was the product lead for Google Wallet. Earlier, he was part of Google’s New Business Development team, where he focused on strategic partnerships, early-stage products, and technology licensing for mobile advertising products, Android Market, and SMS products. Marc was instrumental in the launch of Google’s AdSense for Mobile Applications, which enables developers to generate advertising revenue from iPhone and Android apps.