My Startup: Omnia Retail
Sander Roose is Founder & CEO of Omnia Retail, a Software-as-a-Service company that integrates pricing and online marketing automation for leading retailers.
Omnia Retail offer a range of software products which use automation to help businesses cut through the noise, enabling online buyers and marketers to become more effective.
Founder: Sander Roose
We spoke to Sander to find out more.
Why did you start Omnia Retail?
E-commerce has caused product ranges and competition to increase massively over the last 10 years. Because of this, the number of pricing and marketing decisions that retailers need to make has exploded to more than 60,000 every single day.
Given my previous experience within the retail sector – having worked within customer business development and retail strategy consulting - I recognised a need to automate retailers’ pricing and online marketing. To me, it was clear that this could help retailers regain control of this rapidly-changing landscape and grow at scale. I set about developing a software brand that could do just that: Omnia Retail.
I founded the business in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2013. It uses massive computing power, big data and artificial intelligence to make category managers, buyers and online marketers far more effective in their jobs. This, in turn, allows retail businesses to innovate and compete in today’s marketplace.
Tell us more about the software behind the product?
We offer a range of services, from our Pricewatch Module to our Dynamic Marketing Product, all of which have automation at the core.
Given the increasing number of pricing and online marketing decisions retailers must make every day, compiling and processing such huge amounts of data is laborious and time-consuming. This is where automation comes in.
Our system links software and strategy together. With an intelligent algorithm based on price elasticity, retailers are able to build a strategy, tell the system the rules for that strategy, then let automation take over the laborious part of deploying that strategy. The software automates the collection and analysis of vast swathes of data – such as competitor pricing - to give retailers a greater degree of control over their pricing and marketing.
This means that companies can go beyond simple online pricing strategies such as 'match my competitor’s price' whilst also allowing them to test and adjust strategies with just a few clicks.
Where are you at right now?
We are making our mark on the UK market and rolling out the business across Europe, too. We opened our London office back in September and are excited to reflect the success we had in the Netherlands on British soil. As it stands, we have more than 100 leading retailers on our books - including Decathlon and Samsung - that we are helping to regain control, save time and drive profitable growth.
What are your aims for the next year?
The plan is to continue scaling up the business across Europe and beyond. Automation within retail is only just beginning to bloom and the possibilities for the future feel limitless, so to ensure Omnia adapts to retailers’ shifting needs, we will continue developing the AI side of our software. The e-retail boom shows no sign of slowing down so we predict that the business will continue to grow alongside this market.
What's been the hardest thing about getting Omnia Retail off the ground?
In the early days, when the team and I were just starting out, dynamic pricing was really 'ahead of the market' - too far in many respects. So much so, that we really had to explain why retailers needed to even think about something like this. This made getting clients on board particularly tough in the beginning. However, once we got a few big names under our belt, the other brands seemed to follow suit.
Obviously, a lot has changed since then. Nowadays, dynamic pricing isn't something retailers choose to get ahead of the competition. It's turned into a standard that retailers need to have just to compete in this ever-evolving market.
Why should more retailers be using the software?
Currently, pricing strategies are the number one factor affecting retailers’ online marketing return. Unlike our competitors, we enable brands to link pricing and marketing automation together. This helps retailers to effortlessly keep up with rival brands.
Additionally, we've based Omnia on years of retail strategy experience, and I think that's something that makes us stand out from other retail automation software. We really understand the pain points of retailers and have developed solutions to meet those needs.
How much will it cost retailers? - and why is it worth the investment?
We work on a modular system, so it's hard to give an exact number. Retailers can choose which part of the process they want to automate, whether it's just gathering competitor pricing information or entirely automating price changes. It also depends on how big a retailer's product assortment is, so retailers are advised to get in contact to discuss their requirements direct.
That being said, we recently did a survey of UK retailers and discovered that they were wasting, on average, 10 hours a week just on competitor price checking. Our most basic model, Pricewatch, could effectively reduce that amount of time to almost nothing - just a few minutes a day - so the ROI is apparent.