Bengaluru-based Preksh Innovations Pvt Ltd is an Augmented Reality solutions company. The startup claims to launched the World’s first patented augmented Reality solution for retail last year and filed two patents for same. The technology solution provided by the startup can be rendered on AR gadgets to allow consumers to shop from stores while sitting at home.
The bootstrapped startup offer omni-channel solution for consumers to seamlessly interact with a brick and mortar store offline as well as online at their own convenience.
Founded in 2015 by Kodandarama M A, Sathvik Muralidhar, Saikat Sinha and Sharath Chandrashekar, Preksh is a part of TAP (Target Accelerator Program) batch IV just launched in the end of April’16.
Preksh tried to simulate consumer store-visit experience by allowing them to interact with their favourite store through ‘Store Enquiry’ and social media sharing. According to the startup, business can even integrate their visual store into their Facebook page to leverage social media.
An online consumer is provided with two ‘Search and Discovery’ options: ‘Text Search’ or the ‘Menu-driven Search’. However, in offline shopping, people ‘search and discover’ products by ‘Looking Around’. The entire visual experience of ‘looking around’ is missing in online shopping. Retailers spend considerable time and effort with Visual Merchandising teams to create visual experiences inside the store but all of this is lost in the online world. The startup intends to bring these visual experiences into online shopping and allow consumers to buy by ‘looking around’.
The solution provided by Preksh enables consumers to ‘walk-through’ their favourite brick and mortar stores online, ‘pick’ products off the shelves and purchase them online. It enables consumers to discover products the way they do in offline shopping.
Preksh has utilized technology to built a product which is based upon the 360 degree panoramic tour of a business or store. As such it helps users to walk-through the place and see the things for themselves. However, it is just like a store or business without any guide or executive or a counter to help the visitor. What Preksh actually did is to create an overlay on the virtual tour to make it informative, interactive and intuitive. This enables users not only to just walk-through, but also directly go to a place of their interest inside the business, get information about a product or item (textual, audio or video) and do specific actions (say, add to cart or initiate purchase), interact with the business by sending a snapshot of their interest or even share the product or item of their choice in the social media. Each and every action of the user inside the virtual business is tracked to provide detailed insight of user interests and preferences (section, products, features, customer location) for businesses to align their product and marketing strategies for better ROI.
The startup provide a “Store or Business” centric approach to online consumers, which is the normal case with offline shopping, rather than “Product” centric approach followed by standard e-commerce marketplaces. This helps the businesses to showcase their capabilities, enhance brand image and improve customer loyalty. The AR solution provided by startup can easily be implemented, by businesses of all sizes and having an e-commerce presence or not, by offering an integrated Visual Commerce Platform or easy-to-integrate APIs for integrating Visual Commerce Engine with any existing e-commerce system.
In a specific non-retail example, the company’s Augmented Reality (AR) solution enables online visitors to virtually walk through the hotel / resort and recreation facilities, and set right expectations before the travel. It helps them to have a “look around” of the facilities in an intuitive and interactive way. “This AR solution can be integrated with the backend system to reflect the right and updated information to customers all the time”, says Saikat Sinha, co-founder of Preksh and an IIM-Lucknow alumnus.
Time to get the store online?, And The Cost Involved
The time to bring a store online depends upon 2 criteria – size (by area) of the business and the number of items/inventory to be listed. Preksh, as per its co-founder, take 3-10 days to bring it live online first time.
The charges are very nominal and affordable for retailers. The monthly subscription won’t even cost them more than a fraction of the rent they pay for the physical store.
How has Preksh helped companies increase revenue/footfall and results?
The startup claims to successfully running pilot with brands like VanHeusen and BabyOye with visible increase in customer engagement and time spent by visitors with Preksh solution.
The Startup’s Current Operations & Clientele
Presently, the startup is an 18 member team with developers, testers, content and marketing. The Startup is currently serving two clients in apparels and accessories space and will be adding one more into this. Apart from this, Preksh will be testing its solution with support from Target as part of the Accelerator Program. The startup is also looking for partnering with established reputation management companies to implement its solution for their clients for ROI improvement. In the non-retail space, it has implemented the solution (Virtual Guided Tour) for many customers in hospitality, education, health care and real estate sectors and its current clients includee Van Huesen and Baby Oye.
Talking about startup’s future plans, Saikat Sinha, co-founder of Preksh said – “We want to implement our AR solution for retail across different categories of businesses including apparels & accessories, furnitures and home décor by partnering with established players.”
“Many retailers and businesses are yet to catch up to these trends and we believe that it is a great opportunity for us to lead this disruption. As a priority, we plan to work with marketplaces and aggregators to take our solution to the mass market in a short time. We are also looking forward to set our footprints beyond India in Middle East, North America and East Asia. We will be launching our own application for AR/VR gadgets. We intend to drive seamless omni-channel shopping experience for consumers across offline, web, mobile and VR gadgets”, added Saikat.
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