Hyderabad-based BillEz enables offline retailers to understand their customers better with AI

8th Dec 2016
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BillEz is a SaaS platform designed for all kinds of offline retailers to engage, retain and acquire more customers.

The world might be moving towards online commerce and digitisation, and while e-commerce is believed to touch $220 billion in terms of GMV (gross merchandise value) by 2025, there still are over 14 million retail outlets in India. This means there are over 1,000 shops for 11 users.

Walmart alone handled 260 million consumers on this year’s Black Friday, which concluded on November 26. So like it or not, consumers still head into offline stores and retail outlets.

Taking stock of this, several startups like WholeSaleBox, Fynd and ShopTap are working towards bridging the online and offline gap. BillEz, part of Mench Technologies, is however, taking a different route.

Using deep tech

BillEz is an omni-channel customer engagement Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform for the offline retail industry. It comes as a plug-and-play, scalable, easy to adapt and customer-focussed digital solution to engage, retain and acquire customers through technology.

The SaaS product essentially works with retailers and helps them understand their customers better and eventually assist them in increasing their sales/revenues. Once the BillEz Digitiser is installed on the merchant’s machine, they can send a digital copy of the bill (alpha-bills) to the customer’s mobile phone directly. This is the starting point of engagement between business and the customer.

(L-R) Varun Kashyap and Sumit Nagpal
(L-R) Varun Kashyap and Sumit Nagpal

It then provides businesses with actionable insights into their sales patterns and consumer behaviour through easy-to-use assistant, like Apple’s Siri, that guides them to take actions. Internally, BillEz uses strong NLP (Natural Language Processing) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) engines to make things simple for the businesses instead of loading highly technical stuff on them.

Making it simple

“Reaching out to every single retailer in the market across all business domains and making their systems BillEz-compliant is a humongous activity. It needs huge investment around resources and finances. To handle this, we have come up with easy Plug-n-Play integration method, which can be deployed by anybody who uses Facebook,”

Says 37-year old Sumit Nagpal, Co-founder, BillEz, who has over 15 years of experience in software and cloud technology.

After this integration, there are simple do-it-yourself ways for the retailers to get the best out of their businesses and customers. Sumit adds that simple looking interfaces on the BillEz merchant dashboard hide all the deep technical calculations happening at the backend.

More than being paperless

Initially, the founders—Varun Kashyap, a tech enthusiast with 11 years of consultancy experience, and Sumit, who had met through a common friend—focussed on ensuring that retailers get rid of paper receipts. However, during the course of their interactions with retailers, they found that though the thought behind paperless receipts was well-reciprocated, it still wasn't a compelling reason for retailers to use BillEz.

Digging deeper the team decided to look at what the real problems that retailers encountered were. The biggest challenge they realised was that retailers wanted to understand their own customers and try to identify certain information that could be used to cross-sell and upsell more products.

This is when they decided to take a step further and make it an omnichannel engagement platform, which gives retailers actionable insights into the needs and demands of their customers.

Customer acquisition mode

The team currently is focussed on customer acquisition and has installed more than 50 stores (PoS) within a period of few months and claim to be adding around 10 stores every week.

“In fact, we are very close to converting two leading pan-India clients - one in pharma industry with more than 4,000 stores and another one in footwear industry with around 500 stores,” says Varun.

BillEz raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Ravi Mantha of Sagelock Investments in June 2016. BillEz raised another round of angel investment from Hyderabad-based individual investor Zareen Ranka.

With a solid product and successful customer case studies in hand the team plans to reach out to various retailers across different domains like consumer durables, electronics and restaurant chains in the next six months.

“Most of them would be those businesses that are looking to expand inorganically. In parallel, we have also started our efforts to expand to other countries like South Africa, Australia and some South American countries within next one year or so,” says Varun.

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