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Thirdshelf unlocks the power of marketing automation

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One of Antoine Azar’s favourite moments comes when he sees the light bulb click on in the head of his customer, usually some time around when the co-founder and chief technology officer of Thirdshelf helps them realize how much more money they’re going to make.

“It’s a huge eye-opener when they see the data they could be having,” he says. “It changes the way they look at their business.”

Started by three co-founders in mid-2015, Thirdshelf is a loyalty marketing solution made for small, independent retailers. Its customer tracking capabilities, paired with artificial intelligences (AI) automates many aspects of customer relationship building.

“It’s not technology for the sake of technology, it’s to help retailers,” Azar says. “We’re extremely passionate about helping people grow their business and be successful.”

That’s a sentiment that Simon Tooley, founder and CEO of Etiket – an early customer of Thirdshelf – agrees with. He founded Etiket after years of working at a larger retailer and was looking for an “innovative solution” to replace the analytics, loyalty, and marketing automation he enjoyed there.  “It’s great to see people passionate about what they do being recognized for building innovative solutions,” Tooley says.

Azar first saw the opportunity for serving the independent retail market at a previous business he ran, an agency developing mobile apps. While his agency catered to large customers, conversations he had with smaller retailers revealed there was no good technology to help them develop a loyalty relationship with their customers.

“We figured out the right solution was an AI engine that could analyze the data and do marketing actions on their behalf,” he says.

Here’s how the software works – Thirdshelf connects with a retailer’s Point of Sales (POS) system such as LightSpeed, Vend, or Springboard. From there, it can analyze the transactions happening and start to identify first-time customers and return customers. If customers of the retailer opt-in to the loyalty program – usually incentivized to do so by a rewards system that would include discounts on future purchases – Thirdshelf can analyze their purchasing patterns and design a personalized promotion for that customer. The software can also attribute actions to transactions, so retailers know if their marketing efforts are working.

“Retail has traditionally been very inventory-centric,” Azar says. “Every retailer should be customer-centric and we’re able to give you exactly that.”

Today, Thirdshelf has about 250 retailers using its platform to manage 300,000 customers in loyalty programs and the firm has grown to 15 employees. Given that there are 1 million independent retailers in the North American market, Azar sees room to grow.