Retail Worlds Q&A: Jaime Sánchez-Laulhé, founder and CEO, Geoblink
Written by Chris Lemmon
Jaime Sánchez-Laulhé, the founder and chief executive of location intelligence solution Geoblink, talks to Retail Systems about his career and views on the industry.
How did you get into the sector?
I’ve always been passionate about technology, but while I was working at McKinsey & Co. I spent a lot of time helping retailers with their strategies, and I had my eureka moment. The processes involved were hugely complex and took a long time to develop so I set about considering how this could be accelerated through technology to improve decisions. I left to set up Geoblink in 2015 and it’s been all go since then.
How long have you been in your current role and what have been the highlights so far?
After founding the company three years ago, I retain the role of founder and chief executive. Our highlights include being cited by Bloomberg last year as ‘one of the promising start-ups in the world’, plus all of the great feedback we have received from clients such as Auto Glass, KFC and Anytime Fitness. Expanding into the UK and France this year is also very exciting for us.
In terms of technology developments, what have you got planned for the next 12 months?
We’ll be adding to our technology to help more retailers better understand where their customers are coming from - footfall etc. - so we can help them establish passing trade in terms of gender, age, disposable income and a whole host of other factors. More specifically, we’ll be making our technology much more predictive and investing in the user experience to make detailed analysis as simple as possible. Finally, we’ll also be looking to close deals with additional partners in order to have more types of data available for our customers.
Would you say that the future of retail is mobile, online, physical stores or a mixture of all three?
Definitely a mixture of all three. Online/mobile can be seen either as a threat or an opportunity depending on how you embrace changes in the retail paradigm. One thing for sure is that none of the three channels are going to disappear, just change in how we see and interact with them. It’s really important that retailers monitor and better understand how shoppers are behaving across each channel and make provisions for the future. That’s why we believe location intelligence is critical in this evolving context.
What has impressed you about one of your recent online or High Street shopping experiences?
I’ve been impressed by retailers who have really embraced the online channel in their distribution flow. We’re all familiar with shopping online then going to fetch it from the nearest store, but the likes of Zara and Sephora are changing this up and turning it on its head - they’re enabling shoppers to try and test products instore, then moving the purchase journey online and finally having items being delivered to the home. We’re seeing a huge emphasis on branding and the customer experience moving forwards - rather than the pure distribution channel.
Is there anything that you dislike or that frustrates you about the sector?
I could get frustrated when I see that some decisions are still based on gut feeling when solid data are available to guide decision making and ensure it’s more accurate. Those that understand that will have a more direct route toward success.
Who in the industry inspires you and why?
I’m in general inspired by brands or people that are innovating to move the needle - quickly understanding their environment, their clients and acting accordingly to be the first one on the stage. This is not only restricted to big companies with R&D departments, we have some clients building their retail business from scratch and really moving in such a smart and inspiring way.
What technology can’t you live without?
A bit obvious, but I have to say my mobile phone.