Meet Purple Cloud Messaging Technology To Bridge Search, Physical Stores

Twitter initially launched with the idea that it would become a real-time messaging platform. Along with Facebook, it grew into a way for consumers and brands to connect. Now a new platform allows employees at businesses to have direct connections with consumers in the physical location through a real-time messaging platform.

Purple Cloud, a mobile communications platform, uses several types of technology to connect consumers to employees at businesses through digital location, messages, voice chat and images. It is similar to Google Chat or Microsoft Skype, but it pulls in the consumer's physical location where the conversation is initiated as well as insights from social conversations on Facebook.

The consumer can initiate conversations through digital, print and television. On digital it's done through a button on the brand's Web site. Brands add a piece of code to the Web site that creates a visible button that consumers click to initiate the conversation with a local dealer or store, so it relies on identifying the location of the consumer from the GPS technology on the phone.

That one action by the consumer initiates a conversation through a sign-on Facebook, for example. Purple Cloud connects the action from the person with the name, email address, and photo from the social site, identifying likes and dislikes through social conversations.

Now the platform knows the person's approximate physical location and preferences. From that one click, and the gathered information, the platform determines the correct person and information the consumer needs, explains Purple Cloud Founder Josh Shatkin-Margolis, providing an example of a Nissan dealership.

It's not difficult to understand how it works after realizing that this is the same Shatkin-Margolis who founded retargeting company Magnetic. "When the person arrives at the dealership, the platform can detect signals coming from the mobile device and automatically sends a message to the salesperson who originally initiated the call from the Web site," he said. "We can use iBeacon, but more commonly use geofence technology to detect when the person arrives at a physical location."

The employee installs the Purple Cloud mobile app on their phone. When the person walks into the physical location the technology connects the employee with the consumer via mobile phone. Past conversations with that consumer also appear on the phone, so the employee can refer to earlier conversations. About 20 major companies continue to test the service, Shatkin-Margolis said. These companies have a "very, very large Web presence and physical location." The company is testing the product with retailers, hotel chains and restaurants.

The technology also works with print and television. For print the business model relies on a QR code that consumers scan with their mobile device. It does the same thing as the button on the Web site. A pair of shoes at Neiman Marcus in Vogue magazine might inspire a consumer to ask a salesperson a question. The consumer initiates the conversation by scanning the code with their mobile device. That scan tells the correct salesperson in the store the consumer's location, the product name and SKU number. 

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