E-commerce is claiming an
increasingly bigger piece of the physical sales pie. It is already a reality
that people are increasingly preferring to shop online, meaning companies that
continue to operate exclusively offline are left behind. This situation is
accentuated in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who have less capacity
to upgrade, and also in Latin America, where digital sophistication is scarce
and innovation by SMEs is almost nil. To help them escape demise, a savior
called Arara has arrived, a service which equips SMEs with the same tools that
are used by large businesses. Based on this innovation, its creator, the French
Chilean entrepreneur, Emmanuel Massenez has been chosen as one of the
Innovators Under 35 Latin America 2017 winners by the MIT Technology Review,
Arara’s objective is to improve the productivity of these businesses and help them to keep up-to-date with the digital world. To do this, it offers a software platform for physical stores that provides them with analytics about customer behavior and the effectiveness of their marketing actions. By analyzing the results, companies can improve their productivity and increase their sales.
To achieve this, the company uses Wi-Fi networks, motion sensors and other forms of technology. As they say at Arara, "Wi-Fi is more than connectivity". The company offers an operating system for Wi-Fi networks (adaptable to all types of hardware) that allows businesses to get to know and understand the customer by collecting and analyzing large amounts of information. This information allows SME owners to identify peak buying periods, to better get to know and communicate with their customers and employees, and to offer them products and services more appropriate to their behaviors and needs.
Arara’s potential is already being translated into entrepreneurial success. The company has an annual turnover of nearly two million dollars (almost 1.8 million euros), has 60% of the Chilean market, and has large groups such as Falabella and Samsung among its customers. It also manages more than three million Internet connections and its successes in entrepreneurship competitions and selection processes such as Endeavor promise a bright future. The next big challenge is to secure the financing to expand the team and help expand the business in other Latin American markets, such as Peru and Colombia, where they are already operating.
The ultimate goal is for Arara to become a pioneer in digital solutions accessible to SMEs, or as its founder and CEO says, "Arara aspires to become the one-stop shop for data science and machine learning solutions for SMEs in Latin America and globally." Therefore, in addition to offering its services, the company is also continuously innovating, with 50% of the team is dedicated to R&D. The current major challenge is to offer predictive solutions, not only reactive ones, that is to say, to offer solutions that predict sales based on patterns of customer behaviour and help the owner to optimize sales. Among its goals, Arara is seeking to go beyond retail consumption and branch into other industries such as mining and technology.
Fans of Arara already include e-commerce giants like Amazon, and people like the Manager of the Business Incubator Association and Technological Parks of Paraguay, Carlina Báez, and María Zaghi, who is responsible for Business Development at Campus Tec Guatemala. Both women are Innovators under 35 Latin America 2017 jury members, and recognize the early successes of the company, which has managed to get to where it is today without the need to raise additional capital.