Interview with IBM SmartCamp Finalist: Emilio Sanz, SalesGossip
On Wednesday the 8th of October, IBM hosted their UK SmartCamp finals in the tech accelerator hub Level39 in Canary Wharf. The five finalists were selected from hundreds who entered and spent the day perfecting their pitches to a panel of influential judges from: entrepreneurcountry, Level39, Seven Hills, Shoreditch Works and Silicon Valley Bank. The winner of the People's choice award was SalesGossip, an online and mobile service that aggregates all the fashion and beauty promotions online e-commerce and at brick and mortar locations. With 500k registered members, SalesGossip has become a powerful platform in the fashion world. I interviewed CTO and co-founder, Emilio Sanz about his business and his plans for the future of SalesGossip.
Tell me a little bit about your background?
My background is in technology, I'm a computer science engineer and I started with the mobile industry in the early 2000's. I've been building mobile and digital services for telecoms, media companies, helping them engage with users and monetize the channels. I co-founded SalesGossip in 2011.
Describe SalesGossip in one line
One stop shop for fashion and beauty sales.
What makes it unique?
There's two ways really. We cover all the sales and promotions both online and on the high street. We know that shoppers don't just choose one, they shop both ways. The second is that its all about the brands. People get very emotional and attached to their favourite brands, we recognize this and we are very brand centric. It's about engaging customers with the brands that they love. We give them a personalised service that shows them when there is a new promotion or event on. We also introduce customers to new brands that they don't even know they like. We recommend them to you based on others selections and other customer recommendations which is really amazing.
How do you bridge the gap between online and offline retail?
We send tens of thousands of customers in store but we haven't been able to monitor it yet. Retailers come to us because they understand the shift in the market. They know that data channels are key for both online and offline shopping. 50 per cent of in store purchases are influenced by online browsing and research. There is a lot of technology being launched that will help work in the stores, such as beacon technology. We are doing a few trials, to help do exactly what you said, bridge the digital and physical gap. As a shopper you have a unique experience. You switch between the digital and physical, eventually we want to be able to provide omnichannel data to the retailers so they can understand the customers movements and how best to work with both experiences.
What inspired you apply to SmartCamp?
I heard about it through you guys actually – entrepreneurcountry. It looked like a really great event to be involved in so we applied and in a few days we were selected. There's three things that have been really valuable today. Firstly the event itself and all the mentors, it has really helped improve our proposition and communication. The second is the exposure we get from being here. Winning the people's choice award was amazing and reassures us that people love our product! Going forward we have an audience of investors and partners so over the next few months we will be catching up with them. One of them is IBM, we have some meetings set up and there is a lot of potential and synergies to work with them, they can help us in a lot of ways. Its really been an amazing experience and now we have a busy few months ahead of us!
Watch a video of the competition: