This time, we don’t actually talk about a website but a start-up. Revolving around the idea of how to bring the best of online ordering into physical retail stores, Eric Jankowfsky came up with POSeidon, a cloud-based software that empowers physical retailers by providing them with a touchscreen and a code scanner. The touchscreen enables consumers to check the complete product portfolio of a stocked brand and order products that might not be available in-store at the moment. The shopping basket is then transferred by Beambasket-technology to the customer’s mobile phone without the need of installing any app. The code scanner enables sales assistants to improve the customer experience: once an item is scanned, the person gets access to details such as materials employed and country of manufacturing, apart from checking whether the product is available or not at the moment. Through all these advantages, POSeidon promises more turnover per square meter and the possibility of selling more goods within the same store surface.

Eric Jankowfsky, chief executive at POSeidon
Eric Jankowfsky, chief executive at POSeidon
These days, the start-up is attending all fashion- and technology trade shows around Germany trying to raise the awareness about the business. Nevertheless, Jankowfsky found some time to answer further questions about the POSeidon technology and business approach. Interview by Lorenzo Molina

Tell us about your professional and personal background. What were you doing before starting POSeidon?
I am in the e-commerce business since 1995. In the last 21 years I did a lot of stuff: Founder of Oxid eSales, e-Commerce Projects and Consulting for e.g. Marc Cain, Strenesse, Trigema, Pit Stop… and many more.

Three years ago, I realized that I should do more for local retailers, because I don’t want to go into a city with only Amazon, Apple and Samsung stores. So I started thinking about ideas, discussed a lot with friends and customers and eventually developed a system: POSeidon.

When was POSeidon launched?
The official launch was in September 2015.

Keeping it short and simple: Could you explain us how POSeidon works and in which way it connects both physical- and online retail?
Short and simple… That’s not easy! Well, there are a lot of systems out there called Terminals or “Digital Signage”. Tech gadgets like the digital mirrors in changing rooms, where you can order things so that a sales assistant brings it to you. All pretty cool, but somehow pointless. Because, if a customer does not buy a product right here, right now and leaves a shop [because the product isn’t available in the desired size], the sale is also gone.

POSeidon transfers a shopping basket to the smartphone of the customer without the need of installing an app. He can buy products that are not available in-store, take the digital shopping basket home and ask his wife for an opinion in the evening, and if wished, make the final order at home. Then it is not an ecommerce turnover, but a physical retail turnover!

How many stores/customers are currently using your services?
Right now, we are in the roll-out phase of the first six customers, like sporting goods store Fan & More in Düsseldorf or Bikesportsworld in Freiburg.

What is the price that retailers need to pay in order to make use of POSeidon’s software?
It is a saas (Software as a Service) model and costs 49 EUR/month for each device.

POSeidon aims to solve the digital gap in brick-and-mortar retail
POSeidon aims to solve the digital gap in brick-and-mortar retail

From the various features that Poseidon offers to brick and mortar retailers –supportive tool for shop assistants; online shop and follow-up emails; mobile phone payment without the need to install any app –Which one is the most praised among your customers?
The whole digital selling process.

What are the biggest concerns that retailers/customers share with you in regard of POSeidon?
If a retailer doesn’t receive any product data [photo, description, stock information] from the wholesaler, we are not able to help him.

POSeidon facilitates the sale of a product in-store through various digital conveniences. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t modify the following conduct: a person who goes into the store only to try on a product, find out his/her size and then leave the shop to order it through some online retailer who can offer it at a lower price due to the lack of physical infrastructure. What is your opinion on this issue?
Well, you cannot forbid a customer to act in that way. If someone wants to act this way, he/she would. But if you do not use a system like POSeidon, you force the customer to come back to the shop another day to check if the desired product is already there.

All you can do as a retailer is to provide as much comfort as possible. If it is easier to order the product while being in the local store, customers will do it and avoid searching in the internet.