Retail

Optimetriks : solving Africa’s informal distribution challenges through smarter field data

Written by PLM

Tell us a few words about the founders and how the idea came

 We are three co-founders of this service. Paul Langlois-Meurinne has  worked for 5 years in Africa in the telco sector, as director for the mobile money unit, for Millicom/Tigo in Chad and then for Airtel Uganda. Marc de Courcel is an experienced statistician which has conducted market researches in various developing countries. Augustin de Choulot is an engineer and data scientist, who has been a manager in a small consulting boutique, Altai Consulting. We are all passionate about Africa and the power of the mobile technology to enable a community of contributors to solve the complex issue of distribution. The idea came from our work experiences in Africa and the challenge of “cracking” the informal market.

Your products and services 

Optimetriks is an East Africa based company whose solutions enable FMCG companies operating in Africa to get a tighter control over their distribution networks, reach their full sales potential and better understand the market dynamics through smarter field data. By relying on a community of contributors, in a crowdsourced mode, to collect the data on the ground, we offer mystery visits, field audits and POS mapping at a low cost, in a record time, with results delivered through a user friendly analytical web interface, to ensure full operational impact. Pricing is mostly variable, according to the number of visits.

Your success factors 

  • Data quality
  • Staff quality
  • User friendly interface
  • Pan African footprint
  • Reactivity to collect the data
  • Agility to customer needs
  • Variable and cheap pricing 

Your factors differentiating and disruptive compared to the existing 

Our competitive advantages are the following:

  • Cheaper (2$/visit), quicker to collect data and more agile thanks to the crowdsourcing set up, leveraging large communities of contributors using a mobile application
  • High quality of data thanks to robust system data checks and fraud detection algorithms
  • Interactive web user interface, with a live map and dashboard, leveraging Tableau framework.

Your business model

So far, we have billed around 300 000 euros over the last 12 months as sales.

We position ourselves as a B2B company, where we sell directly to companies 2 types of services : Points of Sales census and retail audits visits.

For census, we get paid in function of the area to be covered, in square kilometers. Our interviewers go through every street and collect the shop characteristics. We then provide the full database and a live map to the client.

For the visits, we get paid in function of the number of missions performed. On top of that variable cost, there are fixed costs to set up the dashboards and the solution.

In the future, we expect our revenue to come mostly from the retail audits visits. The per unit price depends on different parameters : the number of data points to collect, the location of the visit, the duration of the commitment and the volume of visits purchased.

For the business model to be attractive, we therefore need a high recurrence of the visits, where the clients cannot do without our data to drive their business. We will try to lock our clients for the longest time possible.

A few words about your competitors

To obtain insights on the market they operate, FMCG companies use three types of actors :

> the major established market research companies, Kantar TNS, Nielsen, Ipsos, GFK, Euromonitor, etc, which rely on their powerful brands and strict methodologies. They produce generic reports (panels) and customize researches. Expensive.

> the local companies, Research World International, Sagacy, Infomineo, etc, cheaper and more flexible

The first two usually send their own surveyors on the ground.

> the own internal resources of the FMCG (sales supervisors, etc), which companies find unreliable, as very likely to be biased and conflicting with their sales focus.

Your website 

www.optimetriks.com

About the author

PLM

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