Capillary Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which provides cloud-based software for engaging retail customers, is rolling out artificial-intelligence (AI) products for offline stores to track customer behaviour, The Economic Times reported.
The products will help stave off falling offline sales due to competition from online stores, said the report. It added that the company has been looking to use AI to track visitor demographics, footfall, conversations with customers, and others, in offline stores.
Capillary believes that all these, combined with new software applications, will let retail shop owners come out with more-targeted advertising, heat maps of stores and profiles of customers. “The only way to expand across Asia is to build a multi-product play. We said, let us start setting up teams with things we want to dabble with,” Aneesh Reddy, chief executive, Capillary, said in the report. He added that his company had released the footfall counter in October last year.
According to the report, the new AI products feature VisitorMetrix Plus, which can track footfall, conversation, visitor demographics and profile the visitor’s fashion. A second product called Store Sense aims to provide insights into consumer behaviour, depending on his or her interactions with staff, products and the propensity to purchase products.
“It gives a sense of what is happening in your store — have a few cameras, a couple of mikes. If you were looking to buy a black shirt on an online platform, you will search for a black shirt,” Reddy said in the report. “Same thing in an offline store, you will tell the store guy that you want a black shirt. The online store knows if you finally bought that shirt. But, in the offline world, for the guy in the head office, it is very hard,” he added.
Separately, India's policy think tank Niti Aayog is expected to come out with a national policy on artificial intelligence. A report in The Economic Times said that the policy would lay down achievable goals in the coming years. It also quoted a government official saying there would be a committee to monitor AI projects.
The company was founded in August 2008 by IIT-Kharagpur graduates Reddy, Krishna Mehra and Ajay Modani. Mehra had left the company in late 2015 to start food marketplace Taro in Silicon Valley.
Till date, Capillary has raised nearly $85 million in external funding from investors including private equity giant Warburg Pincus, venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, and American Express Ventures, among others, according to VCCEdge, the data research platform of News Corp VCCircle. This amount includes the $20 million the company raised from Warburg Pincus and Sequoia Capital recently.
On the acquisition front, Capillary had bought a minority stake in Noida-based customer relationship management services startup Exclusife Technosoft Pvt. Ltd last year and also backed offline-to-online fashion store Fashalot in September.
It had invested in user engagement platform WebEngage – also backed by Google India managing director Rajan Anandan – in early 2016. In August 2016, Capillary had acquired e-commerce technology solutions and services provider Sellerworx Online Service Pvt. Ltd for an undisclosed amount.