Responses attributed to - Tarun Sobhani, Founder & CEO, SingleInterface
1) What has been the driving force behind the growth of SingleInterface since its inception?
Since the last decade, India has experienced tremendous growth due to Technological Advancements, Internet Penetration and Smartphones. This has created a shift in consumer buying behavior. Consumers now prefer to research via the internet before stepping out to a physical outlet.
We saw a huge untapped potential to fill in this gap as most hyperlocal marketing platforms were focused on leading with offers but we believed that these offline businesses need better discovery & ability to be present at all digital touch points of the customer journey.
Sooner, we became one of the early movers to leverage the digital ecosystem, to enable businesses with the power to be consistent online and also provide correct, accurate and updated information to enhance the chances of being discoverable to high Intent customers. We focused on multi location brands since the challenge for a single location of a brand is similar to stand alone business - they both compete for the customers in the same catchment area
Since then, there has been no looking back and today SingleInterface has evolved into India's largest hyperlocal marketing-to-commerce SaaS platform, delivering $10+ bn of annual revenue across ~200 brands, with a suite of products helping the world’s largest physical retail & service businesses to compete and grow in the digitally connected world.
2) How do you derive consumer insights for making a decision for the brand?
While business intelligence is a catchall phrase, knowing exactly what will drive revenue for our customers' physical locations is what it means to me. Knowing who their end-user is, what influences their decisions, where they are seeking to find more information and which digital channels you can activate to interact with them and engage to help them make an informed decision is an ultimate impact.
SingleInterface serves clients in a variety of industries, including automotive, banking, and financial services, retail, consumer durables, food, healthcare, and more. SingleInterface Data Labs, a macro-level hyperlocal BI tool, aids in the decoding of information and actionables at the hyperlocal level.
While we get rich signals it also helps us to suggest to brands how to develop meaningful connections with their potential customers and enjoy seamless commerce capabilities in a Phygital environment.
3) Considering that the customer faces numerous touchpoints in the buying journey, and with brands competing to get their attention, how does SingleInterface make use of technology to help brands stand out?
Customers who search on any search platform have a high level of intent. They are either investigating or looking forward to interacting or transacting with a brand that has already been included in their consideration set. Your local listing must now be properly optimized, updated with relevant information, and have genuine customer reviews to rank in the top searches on a search partner such as Google, Bing, duckduckgo and more.
Even if the number of locations is in the thousands, SingleInterface assures and ensures that the brand has the consistency of information, relevancy, and correct information across all listings.
Our AI Platform works around the clock to ensure that constant optimizations are made in real-time across every location page, boosting the likelihood of being found in moments that matter to the customers
4) What are the new avenues that SingleInterface is looking forward to discovering and reinventing, besides hyperlocal marketing?
Our original objective was to establish a strong digital presence for a brand’s physical locations and improve the customer experience with accurate and up-to-date information on the internet, but we quickly realized that this was only the beginning. Because any type of customer marketing program can only be successful if it is able to impact business. We worked closely with our customers to put the right attribution models in place and saw the huge impact our deployment has been making on their business. We are constantly evolving our product to make this possible more seamlessly.
While we make it possible for the brands to distribute accurate information of their locations on the internet, they can connect and engage with their present and new customers via our Chat-based solution. This would initiate engagement wherein real-time customer queries can be addressed. Our suite of products now also provides a platform to drive commerce at the hyperlocal level. This will lead to true digitization of these locations
5) Are consumers more dependent on reviews before trying the product first?
Consumers used to have very little to rely on before making a purchasing decision, except for the word of mouth and brand claims. However, the scene has shifted dramatically, and customers now have access to a wealth of peer information via the internet. A research study says that when a business replies to at least 25% of their online customer reviews, on average they earn 35% more revenue. Reviews are now viewed as legitimate as personal recommendations from friends and family when it comes to influencing purchasing decisions.
We found that every location with more than 100 reviews had 10X more searches and a stronger funnel in terms of potential customers' actions based on our data across industries. This only proves that all the search platforms actually value when a brand interacts with its customers and we at SingleInterface have an AI based response system which ensures that all queries are acknowledged and responded across all locations.
6)Is there a growing trend towards purchasing localized products and if yes, why so according to you?
In consumer markets, there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach, and for this reason, both large and small retailers are customizing their offerings according to local markets, rolling out alternative product lines, marketing, staffing, and offers options.
As mentioned in a recent report by Google “Near me” searches have increased by 75% YOY pointing out the preference of consumers for businesses located nearby. More than 90% of our buying happens in less than 5-10 kms radius (source- a poll they did on LinkedIn)
Additionally, the pandemic has further fueled the surge of localism in the global marketplace. The increasing use of online platforms for every utility including leisure shopping has risen due to the discoverability of convenience, accurate information, discount offers, and cost-effective localized benefits which have led to increased footfalls at each location of a brand.
7) How are brands leveraging momentum during the sports season?
ATL rules when it comes to gaming and in India when cricket is something which we live. Over the years we have seen many traditional brands to new age challenger brands displaying the umbrella of offering & advertising crores of budget to get the precious eyeballs and reach.
While it's good to open the upper funnel but in case you don't have a sting conversion medium planned it can all go in vain. Hence at SingleInterface we help the brands to form a bridge between the online and offline world.
Majority of the customer's see a TV ad and then take the next action on a handheld device which is primarily a search. It's here the real battle in the organic world happens where you would feature only if you are relevant, responsive and have accurate information. So, yes, it is integrated marketing wherein hyperlocal or being location focused seals the last mile or end user of transactions.
9) What are the new trends observed across FMCG, retail, financial sector, fashion, food, beverages, automobile in the digital ecosystem?
Lines between online and offline are blurring as the customer is always online. Having an omnichannel presence is essential for brands to provide customers with a fully-integrated shopping experience by uniting user experiences from brick-and-mortar to mobile-browsing. I previously talked about integrated solutions and that's where brands are also focusing. Rather than competing, online and offline businesses should complement each other as customers travel between digital and physical stores and everything in between. For marketers, mastering this online-to-offline connection is more important than ever, but it’s easier said than done. Keeping that in mind, we have built our platform which strengthens the brand's online presence and local search rankings. We ensure that when customers start their journey online, brand’s business locations get discovered in the moments that matter, moments when potential consumers are searching for your product or service near them.