A Tempe startup is using technology to help retailers draw customers into their stores.
Tempe-based Railway Technologies LLC has launched Railway Search — soon to change to Railway Loop — which allows consumers to find products at nearby stores. The app also allows shoppers to use digital brand coupons to buy items at any physical store.
Our goal was to figure out how to use technology to increase local buying,” said Railway CEO and founder Nate Reis. “This is truly giving back from the brand to the consumer that goes to a local business. The local business has never before had the ability to accept manufacturer coupons. Right now it’s only the grocery store that can accept them.”
Businesses use Railway’s web portal and the Railway Station app to post inventory and products online and will soon be able to buy geo-targeted mobile ad campaigns to attract new customers.
Railway, which had a soft launch in January 2015, began in Tempe by digitizing over 350,000 products in more than 360 businesses. Businesses sign up for free and use a beacon to send targeted ads to consumers.
The Railway Station business mobile app, which launched in beta in November, will soon have a cloud scanner, customer list and digital coupon acceptance feature. The app is scheduled to come out of beta in June.
Businesses will be given data with demographic information, traffic frequency, coupon redemptions and items customers are buying so they can keep those items in stock.
“This is a tool for businesses and sales organizations to work to keep their products online,” Reis said. “We are doing the same thing for buying as Waze has with maps. Our focus is the network we have and the ability to send ads to nearby customers.”
Railway has partnered with Bluume, a sales organization that works with Tempe businesses, to get products online.
“Products are the only organic thing that will keep customers coming into your store,” Reis said. “Local merchants have no ability for the data that Amazon has. We are beginning to level the playing field for local businesses to be competitive with Amazon and Walmart. We make every decision with the consumer in mind to keep spending in our local community.”