Social-Mobile Purple Cloud Takes On Lead Generation

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Startup Purple Cloud is testing a social, mobile lead-generation platform created by Magnetic founder Josh Shatkin-Margolis that aims to change the way consumers interact with brands and retailers.

The app that ties into a retailer's Web platform resembles a cross between a human greeter at an Apple store and the technology from the movie Minority Report that personally welcomes consumers by name and directs them to the merchandise in the store.

Most consumers know what they want when they enter a store. They start with research on the Web, followed by Facebook Likes and Twitter tweets that show intent and interest about products and services, but Purple Cloud generates a lead -- providing information to retailers before consumers walk through the door, according to Shatkin-Margolis, Purple Cloud founder and CEO.

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While the technology supporting Purple Cloud may seem a bit futuristic, Shatkin-Margolis said all the pieces are there. Funding is on the way. And tests are being run with less than 10 retailers.

Shatkin-Margolis also founded Magnetic in 2008, a firm that is focused on search retargeting. He said there is no connection between Purple Cloud and Magnetic, except for the fact that each company relies on search as its backbone.

The connection between retailers and consumers begin during the online research process. A single log-in will tie a social network to the Purple Cloud app. Consumers show interest in a specific product on a Web site, which triggers an email to the retailer and a photo of the consumer taken from their social network profile. The process -- although a bit convoluted in the test phase -- requires consumers to download the mobile app, which supports geo-fencing to alert the retailer when the consumer enters the store.

"We're testing Purple Cloud with all the major social networks, but we're not sure if it makes the most sense to share the post on a wall or in a tweet," said Shatkin-Margolis. "After the test we will pick one."

Shatkin-Margolis will push to have the Purple Cloud icon -- a share button -- sit alongside the varying blue squares with either "T," "F," or "in" in the middle.

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