Dubai’s Iconiction targets Indian retail segment with local partnership

Iconiction has around 50 clients, including luxury fashion and accessory brands, retailers, hotels and fast-moving consumer goods brands


Photo: Bloomberg
Photo: Bloomberg

Bengaluru: Iconiction Ltd, a Dubai-based company that provides location and proximity-based advertising technology and services, is planning to enter the Indian retail market and has tied up with a Bengaluru entrepreneur to do so.

Under the deal, Iconiction’s founder and chief executive officer Sebastien Marteau will be setting up a subsidiary called Iconiction India Ltd in collaboration with Indian businessman Anil Hirani. Hirani, who also runs a hardware company called Armour Display Systems Pvt Ltd, will head the newly-formed Indian subsidiary.

While the parent firm in Dubai was funded with seed money from family and friends, the Indian arm is being self-funded. But both Marteau and Hirani declined to disclose the amount right now. They will also be looking to set up a new team under the subsidiary.

The company will provide proximity marketing services to retailers using beacons to send advertising messages to consumers on their mobiles. These messages will appear on a consumer’s phone, either as a push notification or as a text message, as a customer enters a 300-meter radius around the store or walks past a store.

Iconiction also profiles and analyzes customer buying patterns and behaviours by installing sensors within stores that capture the time each customer spends in every aisle or in front of a product category.

This will help a retailer identify the hot, cold and dead zones within a store, i.e. determine what kind of products are selling the most and what aren’t being purchased at all. Sensors installed outside the stores will capture the conversion ratio of passersby to shoppers who walk in and make purchases.

“The way to look at it is it’s the Google analytics of the physical store, of the real world. In the end as people are navigating more on e-commerce sites, (with this technology) you are able to do the same for a brick-and-mortar store,” said Marteau on the sidelines of the South India Retail Summit held in Bengaluru this week.

His 2.5-year old Dubai firm has around 50 clients and includes luxury fashion and accessory brands, retailers, hotels and fast-moving consumer goods brands. In India, the initial target clients will be stores at airports, shopping malls and organized retail chains.

But Iconiction will be entering India at a time when most retailers are still worried about slowing sales in the wake of demonetisation. Yet, both Marteau and Hirani are unperturbed. Marteau pointed out that India is a very ‘mobile first’ market and as the number of people shopping on e-commerce increases, so does the traditional retailer’s need to make his or her in-store experience more digital and analytics-driven.

“I would say that with every adversity people tend to focus more on how do we change ourselves, how do we evolve. Now the time has come to figure out how to get customers who were spending money back into the malls. The time has come to know the customer more,” said Hirani.

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