Tyler Spooner is the Co-Founder & CEO of Uno Group, a consumer rewards and data analytics company that delivers users big savings on everyday purchases like groceries and household essentials, while also delivering parallel value though aggregated ‘omnichannel’ purchasing insights - market research that brands can use to better understand their customers' buying habits and decision-making.
Spooner joined FI Content Manager Dustin Betz to give an update on the latest happenings at his startup Uno Group. Previously profiled here on the blog, over the past few months Uno Group has undergone a number of shifts in finding their true product-market fit. Spooner explains how his team realized new value in executing the startup’s pivot, why omnichannel insights are so powerful for big brands, and how Uno is consistently delivering value in rewards and savings for its users, while never asking them to make any specific purchases or to otherwise change their shopping behaviors.
Watch the complete interview video, or checkout the highlighted quotes below for some of Spooner’s top insights on pivoting, finding product-market fit, why big brands value speed and specificity in consumer data reporting, and more.
‘The Why Behind the Buy’ – On Pivoting and Realizing Value
"We knew the data was valuable—but we didn’t know how valuable it was. It’s a pivot away from the actual delivery model, instead of using the sharing economy to deliver groceries. Because with share economy, there was no margin for us, and you needed a lot of capital—it’s very capital intensive. As opposed to the consumer data play, is very low capital-intensive, but higher margin return.
"So what happened is, we had product-market fit for consumers - but we didn’t have pain-point product-market fit for the brands, for the B2B side. So what we found when we actually started talking to the big global brands, was while they all want to consumers to buy their products, what they actually want to know is WHY they’re buying the product: what’s the why behind the buy."
Uno Money: Rewarding Everyday Consumers For Helping Unlock Data Insights
"We needed a way to actually get more insights. So if we’re going to work with the brands and tell them what products are being bought, we can’t just have people create shopping lists and going out and buying the product—we needed a way to actually confirm the purchase.
"So Uno Money is a gamifcation way of rewarding consumers for taking photos of their receipts, and we reward them for every picture they take - so it’s like a points system. And then it also saves your receipts, so if you ever need to get your warranty out, you can open the app and your warranty’s there as well."
‘Omnichannel’ Definition & Utility
"Omnichannel is a cross-model channel, so from different retailers both online and offline. So what happens with a brand, say Coca Cola: they sell through a lot of a channels, and what happens is they get a data set from that channel; now they don’t really have a data point that connects how that consumer shops at one supermarket to another supermarket, or how they buy their product online.
"So the omnichannel is really connecting it. As we go to the consumer for the data source instead of, say, going to a Walmart for the data source, that measn we can connect them as they shop across multiple channels, and online / offline."
Competitors to Omnichannel Data
"Credit card data is probably the closest (competitor), but then it’s not an itemized label—so for a brand, a credit card statement doesn’t help them. They can see a consumer spent $100 at Walmart, then went and bought petrol, then went to a convenience store.
"But for a brand like Coke, they need to know: did they buy a Coke product at a Walmart, or at a local convenience store, or down the road at a local deli."
On Speed: Why Brands Need it to Compete with D2C
"The problem big brands are facing is there’s a lot of small consumer plays coming up, and they iterate so fast. So if you look at Dollar Shave club, got bought for $1B by Unilever , and it’s because they’re able to go to the consumer, get the feedback and data, and deliver prodcuts fast. So it’s actually part of a data play as well.
"So if you look at that, (the big brands) need to be able to iterate fast and move fast. So when you’re a big beast like a proctor and gamble and youre producing millions of items, you need to understand: okay my competitor just released a product silimar to mine: did that product actually get traction? Should I copy that product and release a similar offering? So what usually happens is because their data sources are so slow, because they have to come from an at-home scan, or they have got to come from the retailer, it’s a month or two months behind."
Advice For Early-Stage Founders: Get Started, Start Again, and Don’t Be Afraid to Pivot
"The first thing: to start, you need to start. Because it’s all about iteration: you’ve got to keep trying, to find your product-market fit you keep launching, keep trying different things. And don’t be afraid to pivot—I’ve met a lot of startups afraid to pivot because of how it’s perceived, but I feel pivoting is very important to find product-market fit.
"You only find it when you actually get in the market, right? Every startup goes through iterations, and I think startup founders need to be aware of this. As long as they’ve got a goal: we want to achieve X – you find out once you start going."
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