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StoreXperience turns mobile phone into shopping assistant

The technology, which was unveiled earlier this month at the National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention and Expo, provides immediate access to information via a mobile device to enable upsell and cross-sell for marketers. Microsoft Corp. is a supporter.

“It creates a window of opportunity to influence behavior using a consumer’s mobile phone,” said Herve Pluche, president of StoreXperience, Berkeley, CA. “This means no capital expense for the retailer.”

StoreXperience was conceived from the notion that the shopping experience has stayed the same, despite many technological advances. The mobile device is the key to changing the in-store experience.

“The Internet has increased expectations,” Mr. Pluche said. “Employing the mobile device to market to consumers as they shop combines the best of both worlds: the wealth of information from online and the tactile experience of in-store.”

StoreXperience lets brands and stores to manage customer relations and influence buying decisions. With one click, the service identifies a product by retrieving information from a database hosted by StoreXperience and relays it to consumers via SMS. It also sends special offers, tailored discounts and product recommendations.

Consumers can use the application remotely by accessing it via the Web. They can also download the application to their mobile device.

“Downloading the application provides a more robust experience,” Mr. Pluche said. “For instance, the remote application cannot leverage the camera on a user’s handset, which extends the one-click process to two clicks.”

With the remote application users have to enter the product number on their mobile device. Once the application has been downloaded to a mobile device via SMS, the consumer must scan the tags with a camera phone to receive more details relating to that product and related products.

The solution can also direct customers to a product they are searching in the store.

While the front end of StoreXperience is the consumer’s mobile device, the back end is the mobile campaign center.

StoreXperience integrates back-office analytic, delivery and CRM functionality based on the Microsoft software platform to allow stores and brands to engage with shoppers in real-time and manage marketing at the local level.

The company uses technology such as Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0.

The back-end management of StoreXperience is said to generate an actual map of the store and the customer’s path through it, which helps retailers and brands maximize purchases, create new upsell and cross-sell opportunities and provide consumers with additional product details.

Mr. Pluche said that StoreXperience is not a technology firm. It leverages technology by companies such as Microsoft to create the building blocks for interactive businesses.

StoreXperience recently announced that it joined the Microsoft startup Accelerator program, which is designed to connect high-potential startups to a support network that provides access to technical assistance and guidance from experts at Microsoft.

StoreXperience is built on the Microsoft platform. It employs 2D Datamatrix technology, which comprises interactive barcode-like symbols called tags that can be placed next to product information cards and on posters, signage or Web sites.

Benchmarks for mobile marketing services for retail clients include GPShopper, a Web-based application.

Also, NearbyNow offers competitive services, but that company does not focus on in-store activity. It focuses on driving customers to the store, per Mr. Pluche.

“StoreXperience is the ultimate sales clerk,” Mr. Pluche said. “It offers product recommendation on the fly.”