The web is not a just a place for offline business to wrangle consumers anymore. Increasingly, technology is changing the way we actually build businesses in the real world.
Representatives from a trio of companies that are revolutionizing the way their industries do business in the physical marketplace came together at Street Fight Summit West earlier this month to share their success stories.
Kyle Vucko, CEO of Indochino, a men’s apparel store, said his company first used technology to distinguish itself from the competition by allowing men to order custom clothing online. Indochino’s algorithm estimates customers’ measurements, designing custom clothes with over 80 percent accuracy based on a client’s height and weight alone.
Ultimately, the company expanded into retail with a handful of pop-up stores across the country. Fast forward to today, and the company is growing its fixed retail presence, equipping stylists in each store with an iPod Touch app capable of estimating measurements and finding appropriate clothing, thus expediting the in-store shopping experience.
Stan Chia, senior vice president of operations at GrubHub, detailed a case in which the company collaborated with a celebrated Chicago chef to open a restaurant that could forgo a dining room altogether — making do exclusively with delivery orders. GrubHub identified a potentially profitable location with kitchen space to rent on weekends and local consumers ready to spend. The company also used data to suggest which foods would be most likely to draw locals to the kitchen, going so far as to suggest a slight tweak in a salad’s cheese that led to a significant rise in the dish’s popularity.
At Reserve, CEO Greg Hong wants to change the way we pay at restaurants. The service equips merchants with an iPad pre-loaded with the company’s application. Restaurants use the application to accept or decline reservations, and then process the check when a diner who made a reservation with Reserve finishes a meal. Hong believes the service will allow restaurateurs to “push their brand out to their user base,” expedites the bill-paying process, diminishes the awkwardness of demanding payment at the end of the meal, and provides data that allow restaurants to recognize returning customers and even those coming for the first time.