Scraffic Developers Simplify Traffic Tech for Retail Businesses

San Antonio—Tracking the foot traffic of retail stores may not be sexy work, but it’s big business. Dozens of companies provide some sort of related offering, from analytics programs and software services that piggyback on the iBeacon to something as simple as camera and equipment makers.

A San Antonio-based startup, Scraffic, announced its launch yesterday into the heavily crowded sector with the goal of separating itself with price point and simplicity. The company charges $20 per month for traffic-monitoring software that aims to aid retailers with what Scraffic’s CEO says he believes they care about most: scheduling staff based on how busy their stores are, and metrics on how many customers convert to buyers.

“We are really providing a very simplified form of that data. We broke it down into what people actually use,” says John West, the company’s co-founder and chief executive. “We don’t offer all the bells and whistles. We offer a very simplified version: here’s your traffic.”

West’s marketing is perhaps a bit counterintuitive. Part of his argument is that there’s value in Scraffic’s offering for small retailers because it is so limited, which allows his company to keep a low price point. Price can prevent some small businesses from investing in the services that use technology to count and track customers throughout the day. Scraffic is initially targeting small businesses, but West thinks he can attract larger chain buyers, too.

The second part of the pitch is that West contends that many retailers won’t use detailed analytics services or services like heat-mapping, which come with some more costly services, even if they think they will. Most retailers only need details on how many workers to schedule based on the number of customers, he argues, and how many of those customers buy something.

“You get sold a hundred features when you buy these traffic counters. You use one,” West contends, an argument he says is based on his prior work as a consultant on the subject for retail stores.

There are countless companies with traffic counter services, from Northborough, MA-based Spencer Technologies to San Francisco-based 3VR. Publicly available pricing on the services is scarce, though West says that most charge monthly fees from $45 to a few hundred dollars, plus installation costs.

Scraffic provides a camera to customers with their monthly subscription. The camera is connected to a Scraffic app, which allows the user to monitor foot traffic information that the camera records. The user can also calibrate the camera with the app.

On the backend of Scraffic’s product is an application program interface that allows users to import customer data recorded by the camera into point-of-sale systems and scheduling tools. Currently, users have to have their point of sale operator connect to Scraffic’s API, which was developed by co-founder Paul Voccio, who has worked in software development at Rackspace. Scraffic hopes to be able to directly integrate with the dozens of sales systems and scheduling tools by the end of the year, West says.

Scraffic is operating out of the downtown San Antonio co-working space Geekdom and has so far been self-funded. West says he thinks things can stay that way, though he’s not counting venture capital out.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at Follow @xconholley

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