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Blog Post from June 15, 2016
Personal product deals on in-store screens coming to a food retailer near you

  • Ever returned from a trip to the grocery store onlyto find that you forgot to buy milk as you usually do every week?
  • Or want to see all special offers while you're at an aisle in a supermarket but only for those products that you have a habit of buying?
  • What if your personalized product suggestions wouldshow up auto-magically on a screen mounted on a product shelf when you come near it?

Two early-stage Silicon Valley startups, Sophatar and QM Scientific, team up to realize exactly that, and are showing a functional demo at the Food Marketing Insitute's FMI Connect conference, June 20-23, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL.

The solution provides individualized recommendations shown on regular digital displays based on past sales data derived from POS or store loyalty data, and/or customer profiles created on the web or via mobile. By detecting physical proximity between a smartphone and each in-store display, each display can show personalized product suggestions for items in a particular store aisle as you walk by a screen in that aisle.

Bart DeCanne, Founder/CEO of Sophatar (LinkedIn profile) explains:
"Sophatar can turn any existing digital display into a proximity-enabled display. We connect a small add-on device to any regular digital display that you already may have, and that device acts both as the media player to our cloud-based digital signage system, and also allows our system to detect proximity between such a Sophatar-enabled screen and a smartphone to create user interactivity. No additional hardware, such as standalone beacons, need to be installed. Then we provide a fully-functional mobile app, or a software development kit (SDK) for a large retailer who wants to integrate this into an existing mobile app, to enable this detection. Even when your phone is in sleep mode, our screens can detect who is near them and show personalized product recommendations for who is within viewing range. Instead of seeing the automated suggestions, customers can also actively use their own phone while inside a store. Their phone basically becomes a remote control for any screen they're in front of, to select from the content the business owner has made available for that screen. For instance in a grocery store you can request product information for those products you're interested in at a particular aisle, get information about the weekly specials, new product items etc. And it works based on your micro-location, without the hassle of having to connect your phone to any Wi-Fi network!"

Faris Alqadah, Founder/CEO of QM Scientific (LinkedIn profile) adds:
"Our personalized analytics engine tracks purchasing patterns on an individual basis and, with our proprietary AI-powered classification, derives suggestions for each individual user. Unlike other systems, it is not segment- or demographics-based but 100% individualized. The engine learns individual shopping preferences and habits at unprecedented levels of granularity based on past sales data or a personal profile, and then creates personalized product suggestions in real-time. And if you are like me, always forgetting the milk at the grocery store, our engine helps with that too! By learning each customer's shopping habits, it predicts which items you are running out of and can provide timely reminders. Basically Sophatar provides the input of who is in front of each screen; the QM-Scientific analytics engine provides the data back for the personalized suggestions; and Sophatar visualizes it on in-store screens. It's a great match and it shows as a fully integrated single product to the food retail business that wants to deploy this to improve its sales bottom line and better compete with online merchants."

Representatives of both companies will be at the QM Scientific booth at the FMI Connect 2016 tradeshow. A live demo will feature passive product recommendations (without users actively using their phones), and active recommendations based on both touch and voice input using your phone. Speaking "show me suggestions for breakfast foods" into your phone will suddenly pop-up recommendations on the screen nearest to you for those cereal flavors or other breakfast items you have a habit of buying, or others you are likely to enjoy as well.

Come see us at booth #2410p, or contact us to book your appointment via or

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