Here's How Ovation Is Bringing Online-Style Customer Feedback to Physical Retail

Brought to you by WBR Insights

Brands are constantly searching for new and better ways to engage with their audiences. For some industries, this is easy. But for others, they must think outside of the box to come up with the best method of reaching people.

Live chat has long been a staple of online brands. Sensing consumers' frustration with call centers and waiting on hold for often prolonged periods of time, brands took the initiative and introduced a method of communication which provided far shorter waiting times - as customer service representatives could handle multiple contacts simultaneously - and allowed customers to carry out other tasks while chatting.

However, retail tech startup Ovation saw a gap in the market for someone to bring live chat technology to the world of physical retail and allow brick and mortar brands to leverage this powerful tool of engagement.


Using technology to bridge the gap between physical relaters and their customers is a logical step in the world we live in today.

"With minimum wage increasing, retailers like Payless shutting down, and restaurants struggling to grow, experts have recommended that the best way to survive the retail apocalypse is to enhance the experience with technology and create a great reputation," said Ovation in a press release.

A recent graduate from San Francisco's 500 Startups Accelerator, Ovation was just one of twelve companies selected from over 1,200 applicants. Now, the brand has raised over one million dollars in growth capital investment to bring its innovative product to more retailers and restaurateurs than ever before.

With Ovation, customers can rate their experiences using QR codes, texting, kiosks, or integrations. Happy customers are automatically invited to share their experience and come back. However, those customers who are less than satisfied with the service they receive can be automatically contacted by the business using SMS, where an associate can try and resolve the issue. Because Ovation uses SMS, there is no need for customers to download an app, create an account, or complete any of the other time-consuming routines normally associated with this kind of engagement.

"While online businesses easily pixel happy customers to bring them back and have live chat to engage with dissatisfied customers, restaurants and retailers are struggling to keep up," continues the press release. "Ovation is a 'game changer,' touts an online review from one of their 300+ customers. Ovation collects customer information and measures experience in the moment through simple survey tools. Then, happy customers are asked to share their experience and come back while unhappy customers start an instant SMS chat with management."

Data-Driven Customer Service

Like with so much of modern business, data lies at the core of the Ovation platform. Ovation claims that its solution can acquire 5-10x more online reviews, 18x higher engagement than negative online reviews, and 16x more data collected than receipt surveys.

This means that employing the Ovation platform not only gives retail and restaurant brands a powerful tool with which to engage with their audiences, but also allows them to gather vast amounts of data on their clientele which can then be processed and analyzed to gain new and actionable insights. It's a seamless way to understand customers' wants and needs regarding what they expect from the shops and restaurants they choose to spend their money in.

Data helps brands build ever more detailed buyer personas which can lead to new strategies based on real-world information - rather than hypotheticals. The Ovation platform even allows customers to be entered into contests for participating in surveys and receive prizes and return business incentives such as vouchers and other promotions.

"Keep a pulse on things with our simple tools that let customers easily rate their experience in real time," says Ovation on its website. "Then customers will be asked to leave their phone number or email to be notified if they won a prize of your choosing. With no effort, happy customers are asked to leave reviews and come back with automated text marketing. If something went wrong, well we help you fix the problem before they get to an online review. Bam. Problem solved."

Final Thoughts

With the Ovation platform, physical retailers and restaurants can leverage the power of live chat, while simultaneously gathering solid data on their customers' experiences. This data can then drive future change for the business, helping it to improve as it goes along.

"Businesses of the future will be around in the future because they have built relationships with their customers - and that is what our technology enables," says Scott Weinert, who built a previous startup with Oates and is a Founder and CTO.

Customer engagement and relationship building is set to be a hot topic at Future Stores Miami 2020, taking place in February at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay, FL.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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