Harnessing predictive analytics for the offline retail sector
Shi Ying Wong 9 Oct, 2018
Charles Chew, founder of Prelens Analytics
In his early working life, Charles Chew recognised that working as an employee in a corporation felt akin to being a cog in a machine. While every employee played a crucial role in achieving a larger corporate goal, one had limited control over where to spend their productive hours on. However, building a startup from scratch was a different story.
Entrepreneurship allowed one to be in the driver’s seat, where he could take responsibility for his own company’s success or failure. This aspect appealed to Charles. With a strong background in data analytics and programming, Charles founded Prelens Analytics, where he believed that data and artificial intelligence had the potential to considerably improve one’s quality of life.
Prelens Analytics launched its first solution through a mobile app, Jinny, which allows users to receive personalised deals and earn cashback when they submit pictures of their receipts. Through its data analytics algorithm, Jinny decides what kind of deals each individual users will be interested in, and sends them only the relevant ones.This way, not only do users receive targeted advertisements, merchants also get to reach out to relevant audiences.
According to market studies done on 7000 consumers, general untargeted marketing through bombardment of advertisements are no longer effective. 58 percent of consumers said that personalisation is an important factor in determining their purchase intention. 57 percent of consumers were willing to exchange personal data in return for tailored offers and discounts, while 52 percent expressed that they were keen on receiving product recommendations.
Shoppers today are familiar with experiencing personalisation in the e-commerce space, but rarely see the same in offline retail. Through leveraging the power of data, Prelens Analytics hopes to enhance users’ offline shopping experience by introducing a layer of personalised marketing.
In terms of running his own startup, Charles acknowledges that it is definitely no simple feat. He shares,
“Convincing merchants to work with a startup is tough. Most businesses in the offline retail sector, especially SMEs, are extremely cost-conscious and hesitant to try out new ideas. We need to show them that our solution helps them solve a real problem, and that we bring long-term value to the table.”
When asked to advise fellow budding entrepreneurs, Charles highlights three crucial steps: Execute, Validate, and Iterate.
He continues, “Do not get paralysed by overthinking. Chances are reality will turn out differently from what you expect anyway, so it is more important to adapt fast.”
In the next 12 months, Prelens Analytics will focus on scaling their business locally by expanding their user base and merchant partners. The company aims to target the Southeast Asian region next, once they have sufficiently validated the local market.
Visit Prelens Analytics’ website to find out more about their work.
From 24 April 2018, TRIVE has announced that it will administer the grant free-of-charge, without any requirement of sweat equity or payment.
Interested entrepreneurs are invited to apply for the grant at TRIVE’s website.