Until a few years ago, people visited dealers several times before purchasing a car. Today, they enter the showroom well-informed, giving the dealer one opportunity to convert them into a customer. Airspace is trying to help dealerships build a better customer experience by understanding people in their location. Ian Malone, CEO of Airspace told us more.
What do you do?
We help brands and retailers to communicate with people in specific locations by using real-time, real-people, real-data information. We’re working in locations such as car showrooms, where we try to improve the customer experience and increase the chances of converting a visitor into a customer by providing the dealership with the data we capture.
And in practice?
We found that more than 70% of people prefer self-service in the dealership. That means they prefer to get the information they are looking for themselves rather than from a salesperson. When entering a showroom, the customer can be handed an iPad, which interacts with a beacon that provides information about that Renault Megan the customer is standing next to. At the same time, the customer’s choices and preferences are captured for both retailer and OEM, which helps them to understand what the customer is looking for. We do a lot of mystery shopping and found that it takes salespeople up to 20 minutes to find out what a customer actually wants, with our solution it takes less than a minute.
Is this the end of salespeople?
No, a car is the second biggest purchase that people make in their lives and most people want to speak to somebody, but the way people choose a car has changed. Previously, people would make six to 20 visits to a showroom before they actually intended to buy a car. When people enter a showroom today, they have narrowed it down to one or two vehicles, they are much better informed and the dealer usually has only one chance to turn them into a buyer – but salespeople just don’t act like this. We help them to find out quickly if a customer is interested in buying or just gathering information.
Anywhere else you’re using ‘location intelligence’?
Yes, airports for example. Airports make a large percentage of their money from their shop partners’ revenues and we can stretch out the time people spend there. So, when a passenger arrives at the airport, we can send information such as “Welcome to Stansted Airport. Drop off your luggage at Check-in 3 and then quickly make your way through to security control because the wait is currently 22 minutes.” Once passengers are in the shopping zone, we can let them know how long it will take to get to the gate from their current location.
How will your business change the world?
It will change customer experience by giving them more control and power because they get the right information at the right point in time.
Where did your idea come from?
I had half read a book by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel called the Age of Context and it made me realise that if you understand the situation in which somebody is, you can be much more relevant to them.
What advice do you give to people just starting with their business?
It’s not enough to have a great idea, you’ve also got to have somebody who is very commercially focused and who understands that, at some point, you have to cover people’s wages.
When have you reached your goal?
When I walk into a room full of a hundred people and find out that what they’re working on is a great idea – that is how success is defined for me.
And not by thousands of people using your platform?
Oh, by that point it will be millions of people using the platform and there will also be millions in the bank account.
Who inspires you?
The guy who set up the Trampery, Charles Armstrong, because he’s managed to build a lifestyle around two of my passions: Motorbikes and start-ups. I’d quite happily swap life with him tomorrow.
Once you’ve earned your millions, what do you do?
Motorbikes. I’ve got an obsession with motorbikes and my next start-up will be a business where we bring old bikes from the 60s and 70s back to life and have a wonderful café and a fashion store. It’s a bit of a hipster thing, but that will go away. I would have already found a location, but I’m not ready for it yet. Frankly speaking, one day I’ll just watch people fix bikes while I drink beer.
For more information, visit airspace.cc