This NYC Startup and Its Proximity Marketing Technology Keeps Shoppers in the Loop


notify nearby

All retailers want to be able to offer customers that something-something that makes them stand out – and will draw customers into their store by sending along a special promotion, news about a new product, a special savings coupon. Whatever.

Then again, not every retailer can afford to build their own app, and how many apps will consumers download?

That’s where brand loyalty, proximity marketing and Notify Nearby come in to make all the difference.

The Notify Nearby is a proximity marketing technology whose platform allows retailers to send fully customizable information through the Notify Nearby mobile app. Using iBeacons, retailers can then send information as customers are shopping.

Retailers can also send general updates to users, even when they are not in proximity to an iBeacon.

The app provides users a consolidated and organized place to see sales, promotions, product launches, etc. from the retailers they love, and what serious shopaholic – or busy person – doesn’t want to be kept in the loop? And save on the brands they’d buy, in the stores they’d buy from anyway?

Especially when it’s spam-free. Users choose which stores and categories they want to hear about.

Founder Nevin Jethmalani tells us how they’re updating the user shopping experience and bringing brick-and-mortars online.

Tell us about the product.

Notify Nearby is a mobile app for customers to get information such as sales, promotions, product launches, etc. from the retailers they follow.
Retailers send information through our web application in two forms: iBeacon notifications and general company updates. With iBeacon notifications, retailers can send customers push notifications as they are shopping, based on their proximity to an iBeacon. Users have the option to browse iBeacons around them to see information retailers want to display. Finally, retailers can also send general company updates to users even when they aren’t in proximity to an iBeacon.

Why did you embark upon this venture?

All of us shop all the time, but we never know what our favorite brands are offering without individually checking their websites or seeing an ad for a specific brand. Even while shopping, we never know exactly what discounts and sales there are in stores around us.
A smooth retail experience is what customers are looking for and it’s achieved by giving them the information they need. Retailers don’t have a way to communicate everything a customer wants to know, without overwhelming them. We understand that and see this product as the solution to the problem

From your data, what types of products are most compelling to your users?

iBeacons, apps, and the Omni-channel will be integral to the survival of retailers. Brick and mortar stores are not irrelevant, they just need to be proactive in a multi-tiered approach to the new shopping experience. Apps will become a more seamless component of the consumer’s shopping experience if retailers want to remain relevant to consumers.
Retail technology experts see iBeacons as a way to break the divide that show rooming has between physical stores and online buying. Results show 20% increase in purchase intent of featured products using iBeacon technology. And 76% of consumers use their smartphones while shopping.
Forrester predicts that 90% of sales will still come from physical locations in the United States.

How is it different?

Our mobile shopping application uses iBeacon technology. This allows retailers to target promotions to their customers when they are making buying decisions. Customers are either in a retail store or outside the store. At that moment, retailers are able to send relevant information at the time customers want to receive it.
The most common implementation of iBeacon technology is to integrate it into a native retailer’s app. But customers only download brand specific apps for their favorite retailers, making iBeacon technology available only to those customers. We are consolidating mobile shopping applications into a single app and giving retailers of any size the ability to use iBeacon technology, without developing a native app.
It is simply difficult for users to get information without being overwhelmed, and we aim to solve that.

What market are you attacking and how big is it?

We have two markets: retailers and mobile app users. Our product has value only if there are a variety of different brands and users using it. We allow the users of the app to segment the types of retailers they shop at and only receive information from those retailers. For this reason, we need to saturate our app with as many brands from many segments of the retail industry. Similarly, we need a variety of mobile app users with different styles and budgets.
In terms of the retail market, there are an estimated 3.6 million retailers in the US today. We are focusing on clothing retail during our first phase, but we will expand into all retail and food and bars in the future. Our goal is to make iBeacon and proximity marketing technology available to all retailers in a form that is easy to access.

Nevin Jethmalani

Nevin Jethmalani

What is the business model?

Our current model is creating a product that our retail partners and app users love. After we have a great product, we will begin charging retailers a $10 monthly subscription fee per iBeacon. We are also working very closely with affiliate networks to promote content through our application.

What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?

We aim to expand our iBeacon service to every major city within the US. We would also like to integrate our technology deeper with a retailers marketing channel. Our mission is to drive significant sales and traffic to retailers online and retail locations.

If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?

Nihal Mehta. Nihal’s fund, Eniac Ventures, funds startups in the mobile app space. They focus on companies in their seed stage looking for an investment of up to $1M. Nihal has worked with consumer brands in the mobile space and has experience growing companies from an early stage.

Why did you launch in New York?

New York has one of the largest and most influential fashion markets in the world. Almost all major brands have retail locations in New York, and some of the widely acclaimed fashion boutiques grew out of New York City as well. New York sees fashion and shopping as a culture. Districts such as SoHo have such strong worldwide influence over the industry. Various multinational brands had their first store in SoHo and still have their flagship stores in SoHo. We want to be a part of bringing some of the undiscovered talent in the area to a larger audience.

What’s your favorite NYC happy hour spot in NYC?

Pound and Ounces.

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