RetailEXPO : French Pavillion winner Q&A with Dotaki

Essential Retail speaks to Kevin Becker, founder of start-up Dotaki, about its innovative AI retail technology solution and winning RetailEXPO’s French Pavillion award.

Tell us a little bit about why your solution is so innovative within the retail industry?

Our solution’s real innovation is that it brings something to the online experience that sales people have been doing in store since time immemorial: adapting to the customer’s personality. When you see an anxious customer, you want to reassure them and when you meet someone who is very detail-oriented, you provide them with precise and structured information. This is now possible online too. It’s a win-win process since the customer gets what they want, and the online retailer generates more sales. It is important to note that this wasn’t impossible until a few years ago and demonstrates the great advances in machine-learning algorithms in action.

What is the biggest challenge facing retailers today?

I would say declining profitability. This is especially the case for online retailers who all challenged by rising customer acquisition costs. It is due to the lack of competition in online advertising, where Google and Facebook monopolise the market, and an increasingly crowded eCommerce environment. From our point of view, it is vital that online retailers invest in solutions allowing them to maximise the revenue generated by existing visitors of their websites. This is exactly what Dotaki allows them to achieve.

Many in the industry are claiming that the traditional high street is dead, with consumers preferring to shop online than in store, do you agree? Will we still have a high street in five years’ time?

Of course we will still have the traditional high street in five years’ time – even if it’s only for perfume! On a serious note, strolling from store to store, trying on clothes and being tempted by luxury goods is not going to end anytime soon. Having said that, technology tends to blur the lines between in-store and digital experience. Take virtual reality, you will soon be transported into any department store from your living room. This is a chance for traditional brick and mortar retailers to extend their reach, and get more value from the physical experience they have invested in. On the other side, digital pure players are opening physical showrooms because their customers want to see the products in real life. The high street isn’t dead, but it must adapt, and the next chapter of the story is already being written by forward-thinking retailers and clever start-ups.

Which retailers do you admire for their use of technology within their businesses?

There are a lot of very advanced retailers in the UK. We see very slick experiences on ASOS for instance – they look like they have an edge in terms of digital conversion practices. I look to visible players like Ocado who are redefining retail in a really tough market segment. We are also very impressed by some of our customers in France, such as La Redoute, who have highly skilled teams and invest heavily in innovative solutions.

What are you most looking forward to at RetailEXPO on 1 & 2 May?

I am really looking forward to meeting and speaking with British retailers. This is a fascinating market for us with mature companies who will truly benefit from our solution. Also, I have just received the news that Dotaki has been shortlisted for the Innovation Awards at RetailEXPO. I am very happy and am now expecting a lot of energy and enthusiasm for our offering. We are coming to tap into this momentum and add our contribution to the very hot topic of conversion rate optimisation.

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