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This Indonesian Start-up Turns Shopping Receipts to Consumer Insights

A new way of extracting data can get brands more quality information

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BY Melissa G. Bagamasbad - 26 Feb 2018

This Indonesian Start-up Turns Shopping Receipts to Consumer Insights

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

When making business decisions, entrepreneurs are often told, “Go with what the data tells you.”

But ask Reynazran Royono and he would say market research companies have gotten too comfortable with the old method of doing things — getting data through focus group discussions and surveys, and then providing clients with the results months later. Coming from the corporate world himself before becoming a start-up founder, Royono understood this pain point.

“There’s no ‘actionability’ at all in the data we get. And no one is disrupting,” says Royono.

The idea for Snapcart was born. The Indonesian start-up founded by Royono allows users to submit their shopping receipts via an app in exchange for cash back. Snapcart is then able to collect data which can be translated to analytics and customer insights to businesses.

“As simple as that,” says Royono. “What we’re doing is monetizing the data by getting this inside the platform and sell [this data] to our clients, the brands.” He clarifies that they don’t monetize from a percentage of the transactions but from the data they collect.

Snapcart also has a survey platform in the app that enables them to collect data beyond what the receipt shows, such as why a customer decided to switch shampoo brands, for instance.

“When you ask the right questions, you’ll know why,” he says.

Royono adds they have another app that can gather data from retailers that don’t issue receipts, such as the sari-sari stores (neighborhood sundry stores) in the Philippines.

Getting data science right

One important factor in the success of Snapcart, says Royono, is their capability to extract the information from receipts.

“Until now, there’s no company that can actively extract information from receipts. Just imagine, in Indonesia, for example, the receipt format is different from one retailer to another. The description of the product will be different from one retailer to another. And sometimes, you even see different formats of the receipt within the same retailer. So if you don’t have a strong capability in extracting data from receipts, [then you can’t establish yourself as a data science company] and you won’t be able to automate as well.”

At present, Snapcart has nearly one million users. The three-year-old company has partnered with more than 100 brands, including corporate giants like Unilever, L’Oreal, and Nestle. It has also expanded to the Asia Pacific region, more recently in Singapore. Previously, they operated only in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Brazil.

Snapcart plans to expand further in countries like Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia.