Gatineau's Foko focuses on in-store analytics to maintain rapid growth

‘Our tool basically is the first step to … have Google Analytics for brick-and-mortar stores.’
CEO Marc Gingras

Gatineau-based startup Foko Retail believes untapped customer insights from brick-and-mortar stores are the secret to both sustaining retail chains and maintaining its own impressive growth.

Foko provides its 60-plus customers – high-profile brands and businesses such as Nike, Indigo and Whole Foods – with an intuitive mobile platform to share in-store displays, ensuring franchises are compliant with advertising standards and allowing individual stores to share best practices.

Store managers can send photos of displays directly to headquarters to make sure they’ve got the design correct. Think “Instagram meets Slack,” CEO Marc Gingras tells Techopia.

Now half a decade old with roughly 30 employees, Gingras says Foko is growing revenues by 10 per cent month-over-month. The firm raised $2.6 million in early-stage funding four years ago, but put off plans to raise a series-A round this past summer because revenues were growing quickly enough for the firm to scale without external financing.

“We might actually skip directly to series-B,” Gingras says, referring to the funding round where most firms are well-past the development stage.

Last month, Foko unveiled new features that allow companies’ headquarters to track compliance. Analytics can now tell users which stores are achieving compliance the fastest and relate that to sales performance.

Gingras says translating the in-store experience into actionable information is key to continuing Foko’s growth. While the explosive e-commerce phenomenon has insights on user behaviour baked right in – how long a customer spent on a page, or what else they were looking at before they made a purchase – this data is invisible in a brick-and-mortar store.

Breaking down which displays are most effective and how customers are interacting with a physical store is critical to maintaining the real-world retail experience and helping brick-and-mortar shopkeepers keep up with the online environment, Gingras says.

“Our tool basically is the first step to … have Google Analytics for brick-and-mortar stores.”