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RetailNext Buys Mobile Marketing Cloud Platform Pikato To Advance In-Store Analytics

Several months after raising $125 million, the shopper analytics company has done some shopping of its own.

RetailNext's Marc Dietz
RetailNext’s Marc Dietz

RetailNext, the brick-and-mortar analytics provider, has acquired mobile cloud marketing software company Pikato as it seeks to offer clients greater ability to target personalized in-store ads in real-time.

The 10-person, Chicago-based Pikato has partnered with San Jose-based RetailNext for the past year, noted RetailNext CMO, Marc Dietz, in an interview. Among the reasons for bringing the company in-house is the promise of enhancing RetaiNext’s own mobile shopper engagement capabilities. The purchase comes several months after RetailNext raised a $125 million fifth funding round.

In particular, Pikato promotional solutions run in “thousands of standalone stores” and 160 shopping malls. Altogether, the company claims to have engaged a total customer population of 47.6 million individual users, including 5.7 million unique monthly users. On average, Pikato also boasts that the retailers who use its services regularly experience an eight-fold increase in coupon redemption rates, doubling basket size, and ultimately a 10 percent gain in profit margins.

Cross-Channel Messaging And Shopper Analytics In One Package

While RetailNext is impressed by the stats, the technology is what led to its decision to make the purchase.

“The cloud-based system makes it very easy for marketers to deploy with limited or no involvement or constraints from their IT unit,” Dietz said. “The real core of the services that they provide is that marketers can manage all their mobile communications, across all channels, through one single platform.”

As Dietz explained, most marketers generally have to choose whether to send a customer an SMS/text-based promotion or, for example, an app-based one via a beacon. What Pikato allows marketers to do is choose “all of the above,” so that SMS, email, point-of-sale, social media messaging, beacons, or mobile app based promotions can be managed from one source.

“We can now say, based on what I know of this customer, based on what their preferences were, their purchase history, decide on the best format to target a message by combining RetailNext’s in store shopping behavior across all those different channels,” Dietz said.

Pikato's Jesus Sanchez
Pikato’s Jesus Sanchez

From Partner To Part Of The Company

In outlining the other reasons RetailNext’s acquisition of Pikato makes sense — financial details were not disclosed — Dietz pointed to the ability to scale its cross-channel targeting system rapidly.

“They’re a relatively small company and we’re doing business in 60-plus countries, so we have the ability to go to market globally much more quickly,” he said. “Secondly, if it was a side-by-side-only solution, then maybe the partner route would be more appropriate. But the ability to integrate the data using in store shopping behavior as one of the many inputs to their machine learning personalization engine allows us to go a lot deeper by having full control of the product integration.”

As the two companies work on combining, Pikato will no longer operate as a standalone brand and will be folded into RetailNext as its Targeted Marketing and Engagement solution.

“Pikato revolutionized retail by creating a mobile personal concierge to drive personalized engagement, allowing some of the world’s biggest retail brands such as Sears, Kmart, and Kohl’s to successfully connect with shoppers and drive sales,” said Jesus Sanchez, co-founder (and former CEO) of Pikato, who now becomes head of Targeted Marketing & Engagement at RetailNext. “Seamlessly integrated with the comprehensive RetailNext analytics platform, the solution is now even more differentiated by triggering relevant, targeted communications from in-store and out-of-store data about shoppers, their shopping journeys and shopping behaviors.”