In large retail businesses, data plays a crucial role. But if the data you're working with isn't reliable, you can't make accurate predictions. Bart Muskala worked for years as a retail consultant, using traditional surveys to gauge people's shopping behavior. "There was a lot of noise in that, because there is a difference between what people say and do. Moreover, small numbers are often surveyed and you get the insights with a long delay. That's why I started looking for more behavior-based methods, by capturing location data via cell phone devices, for example."
Doing that in an anonymous way gives Accurat, the company Muskala founded with his associate Steven Van Canneyt, insight into where people shop. You can also track how often people return and how that evolves over time, which is an important indicator of satisfaction compared to how we did it before. "We built a product around that data, for which we now have big customers like Lidl, Delhaize, Brico and Telenet," Muskala says. "Every month we have a turnover of 50,000 euros. The goal is to end this year on a turnover of $1 million. We focus primarily on retail, but additionally on media companies like ClearChannel. Thanks to us, that can show very well whether a campaign has had an impact in the streets. "Accurat raised 1.1 million euros in recent years from KBC, PMV, and tech investors Lorenz Bogaert and Toon Coppens, among others. With this, the company plans not only to expand abroad, but also to hire people. "We have a team of six people, but after the summer we will grow to 11 employees. The first members of your team are the most important, and that's a challenge. Good people have 101 opportunities from which to choose. It's a matter of convincing them. Fortunately, we manage to do that."
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