Weblib, with whom Altavia recently signed a partnership, is using data collection to help brick-and-mortar stores go digital.
Arthur Philbé and Florian Galby founded Weblib in 2009 at the Sciences Po incubator. Within a decade, the start-up has made considerable progress and is now offering two key solutions:
- Tab inStore: the first product to launch at the start of the Weblib adventure. The idea: to provide tablets in stores and kiosks enabling content to be managed remotely for marketing purposes. “Our biggest client is McDonald’s, for whom we have installed tablets in restaurants across 20 different countries!” explains Arthur Philbé, “The chain’s restaurants in Italy and Portugal are now nearly all using the solution.”
Self-service tablets are provided to consumers on anti-theft mounts set up on sit-down or high standing tables. They can play Angry Birds, log into their Facebook account, browse the internet and more. “We do everything required for deployment including equipment sales, on-site installation and connecting tablets to store Wi-Fi but our main tool is an online platform called Control Tower which enables marketing teams to manage and operate their tablets remotely,” adds Arthur Philbé, “Our clients can carefully manage their content: for example, by changing tablet screensavers weekly and turning screens into dynamic POS advertising tools. Administrators can also manage all their tablets by changing apps, adding new games, checking everything is running as it should be, installing security updates, etcetera. With Control Tower, clients can access statistics and collect information including the number of people using tablets, time spent online and the most popular apps and websites.”
The tablets can also run satisfaction surveys and are handy, quick and fun to use.
– Smart Wifi: launched three years ago following discussions with the Head of IT at McDonald’s who was bemoaning not getting any insights from the 5 million unique connections per month on the chain’s Wi-Fi in French stores. “We had a light bulb moment!” remembers Arthur Philbé, “The solution was to install Facebook Connect so when clients logged into the restaurants’ Wi-Fi their profile information could be collected.” A PoC was drawn up, generating interest from a range of retailers including Uniqlo – all the brand’s European stores now have this solution installed! “The beauty of Smart Wi-Fi is that it can turn a swathe of unknown clients into known clients to whom brands can send emails or texts with offers or personalised reductions,” sums up Arthur Philbé, “With the advent of major international retailers, brick-and-mortar retail seems to have forgotten the basics of business, those famous three Rs: Recognise clients, Recommend products to them and Reward them for their loyalty. Weblib is positioning itself as a supporter to retailers in a context of huge competition from e-commerce.”
2017: a great year
In March 2017, Weblib acquired Urban Koncept, a Wi-Fi operator with a significant presence in the retail and catering industries. “Thanks to this acquisition, we have doubled in size and gained a wonderful client portfolio,” enthuses Arthur Philbé, “We are currently operating the French Wi-Fi for Flunch, Buffalo Grill, Kiabi, MIDAS, DARTY and Boulanger. That’s over 4,000 hotspots in total!”
2017 also saw two noteworthy commercial victories. Weblib won tenders with the Les Mousquetaires Group (over 2,800 French stores) and Axa Banque (installing digital kiosks in 400 branches).
In the coming months, the start-up is hoping to develop the Smart Wifi solution in two main areas: the services portal and ordering and payment over Wi-Fi.
Another challenge in the near future is conquering Asia – an office opened in Hong Kong a year ago.
“This year, we will be continuing to look at external opportunities for growth,” says Arthur Philbé, “either by buying start-ups with expertise and technology that could complement what we do or by acquiring Wi-Fi operators with an interesting client portfolio.”
The partnership with Altavia should also help the start-up to develop. “This collaboration will give us access to a new set of clients and benefit from the established nature of the Altavia Group,” concludes Arthur Philbé, “In return, we will be contributing our agility and providing popular digital solutions which have already proven their worth.”