Telegraaf: Online Strategy for Physical Stores

AMSTERDAM - Online retailers can communicate very precisely due to the large amount of available data. The Amsterdam scale-up Windowsketch offers retailers with a physical store the same opportunity. "If a lot of coffee is sold, an advertisement for donuts appears in the store," founder Floris Sanders envisions the future.

As a descendant of the Sanders Retail Group, Sanders saw that retailers were increasingly struggling. "I went looking for a way to increase profitability in stores." The company started four years ago selling screens to display advertisements. "We have now become more of a technology and software company. Like, we look at supply and demand. The price of advertising space rises when the demand for a certain product in a store increases. If that product is, for example, beer, various suppliers can bid for the space via an online marketplace."

There are also plans to use machine learning. "A smart algorithm then determines which communication is shown when. If the checkout data shows that a product is selling well, we display a related product on the screens. Other factors, such as weather or time of day, can also play a role."

The screens are now in about a thousand stores of Bruna, Livera, Hema, and Albert Heijn. Customers decide for themselves what content is shown on the screens. "Some choose to promote only their own products to increase their own store's profitability, while others allow third-party advertisements to generate extra income," Sanders explains.

Windowsketch's revenue exceeded €3.5 million in 2018. Sanders aims to grow to €10 million by 2020. "Next year, we will continue to focus on the Netherlands. Once the concept is established, we want to expand into Europe." He is not afraid that another player will have emerged by then. "Most parties focus on online, while we focus on offline, a niche market."

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