Featured Startup Pitch: aisle411—helping consumers navigate the brick-and-mortar shopping experience

By Editor July 21, 2011

aisle 411 logo

Company: aisle411

Website: www.aisle411.com

Founders: Nathan Pettyjohn and Matthew Kulig

Headquarters: St. Louis, MO

Year Founded: 2008

Twitter: @aisle411

Brief Company Description: “aisle411 is the premier mobile shopping platform allowing users to navigate to products down to the specific section of an aisle.”

By NathNathan Pettyjohn, aisle411an Pettyjohn, co-founder and CEO

Product Overview

Approximately 24 percent of all retail revenue is lost because consumers cannot find the products they want, or information about it.

aisle411 is a mobile in-aisle shopping platform that empowers anyone with a mobile phone to find and navigate to products and promotions quickly and easily in retail stores. With intuitive voice recognition technology powered by Nuance, we offer a unique in-store search and comprehensive mobile retail shopping solution. With the aisle411 app, users can instantly locate products in stores down to the specific section of the aisle, manage shopping lists, find offers and share experiences with friends via social media integration.

Annually, billions of shopping trips to a store start with planning or research online, and end in a trip to the store. Over the next few years, we anticipate the majority of all pre-planned digital shopping trips will be executed on a mobile device, while in a store. aisle411 is focused on creating the best in-store shopping list execution platform, allowing users to check-in, route their entire list through the most efficient path through the store, and discover things digitally while navigating the aisles that shoppers may not find otherwise, like a special offer in the next aisle, a recommended item by a friend, or a healthy alternative. We are making this shopping platform available for integration into all other digital shopping tools, both online and mobile, retailer branded and other third parties within the space.

Founders’ Story

The concept for aisle411 came about in October 2007 when I was in a Big Box hardware chain and spent 20 minutes looking for a surge protector on my lunch hour. I had my light bulb idea.

I teamed up with Matthew Kulig, a serial entrepreneur in the area. Kulig and I formed a corporation in April 2008, came up with name "aisle411,” worked together to write and file a patent, and built out the company’s technical team.

We strategically launched the service with Ace Hardware in St. Louis, MO and Southern Illinois, and with Price Cutter, a regional grocery chain in Springfield, MO. These early strategic customers allowed us to build the system with real customer data and to study the consumer use interface to best enhance the system in a real-world environment. This strategy also served to announce us as the inventor and authority in the retail product location assistance space. The strategy worked and we are now in available in over 1,700 retail locations and in discussions and pilot stages with four of the top 10 retailers in the U.S. regarding an implementation strategy in their stores.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

Viral and social marketing has facilitated rapid user adoption rates by consumers. The benefits are simple for the consumer: save time and save money using aisle411. We offer a seemingly limitless marketing opportunity for advertisers to increase sales, build loyalty, generate new revenues and enhance productivity in ways unimaginable in the past.

The integration of our in-store navigation platform into retailer branded and other shopping applications will facilitate rapid user adoption rates by the retailer’s consumers. This is being supported by some forms of traditional media including in-store signage, shelf-talkers, hand-outs and in-store circulars. Additionally, we leverage retailers’ and product manufacturers’ current loyalty programs to market the service. By utilizing their current consumer databases, we can create instant consumer awareness through email, text-message, direct mail and other loyalty program communication vehicles.

How We Differentiate from the Competition

aisle411 is the only voice activated navigation system that allows users to find products down to the specific section of the aisle in the store on their mobile phone. We transform the customer experience by offering product searches, in-store navigation, digital shopping lists, in-store coupons and a proprietary ad engine that targets users based on shopping intent and location information.

We offer significant value for advertisers by providing unique business intelligence on what shoppers are searching for moments before they buy it. Consumer shopping metrics, including insights at point of decision, unique shopper segmentation analytics and a consumer footprint across retail segments can be aggregated and delivered to retailers; an unprecedented level of detailed information that was previously inaccessible.

Our mobile marketing channel opens an opportunity for retailers to offer relevant mobile marketing directly to consumers based on their search request. The system offers retailers and product manufacturers the ability to place mobile offers and product recommendations.

Business Model

We are a mobile marketing technology company providing innovative services to multiple industries. We are generating revenues from Fortune 50 brands. Our sales pipeline is a who’s-who of top retail and product companies.

Through marketing revenue, we offer a seemingly limitless marketing opportunity for retailers to increase sales, build loyalty, generate new revenues and enhance productivity in ways unimaginable in the past. We believe that the aisle411 product offers one of the biggest mobile marketing opportunities and employee productivity enhancements available for retailers in the coming decade.

Current Needs

We are growing aggressively and are looking for key talent with experience in product management, engineering, retailer and shopper marketing and platform and app developer business development.

Aisle411 – www.aisle411.com