April 11, 2013

Interview with Steve Izurieta, President of Zumetrics

Recently Digital Growth Insights spoke with Steve Izurieta, President of 3Pillar Global client Zumetrics. He talks below about how innovative software development is providing a better experience for his customers, and is making Zumetrics a leader in the e-commerce analytics space.

1.    Thank you for speaking with Digital Growth Insights. Please give our readers some background on your company, and yourself.

Zumetrics is a SaaS-based market- and competitor-intelligence service. It provides e-commerce pricing and product level data for retailers and brand owners allowing them to make faster, smarter, data-driven channel management decisions. It’s offered as a cloud-based subscription service that provides access to sophisticated decision analytics linked to an enormous database of products and dot-com retailers.

We just recently launched this business. Zumetrics is a subsidiary of Intersections Inc. (NASDAQ: INTX), a leading provider of consumer and corporate identity risk management services. With this relationship, we’ve got the best of both worlds – the backing of an established market leader with the culture and agility of a startup.

Personally, before starting Zumetrics I served as VP of Partnership Development at Intersections and the General Manager of Net Enforcers, another Intersections subsidiary. Prior to that, I co-founded and was President of a mutual fund analytics firm, Mutual Decision, and I spent a number of years at Capital One Financial where I was a Director of Business Innovations.

2.    Can you describe the business challenge(s) Zumetrics was facing?

The e-commerce space is incredibly competitive for both retailers and brand owners. It has grown exponentially as more online product sales have shifted away from brick-and-mortar stores to online retailers.  This has given rise to the need for on-demand and high-quality market, competitive, and pricing analysis.

We identified a need in the marketplace to provide a tool that pulls in huge amounts of unstructured data across retail websites.  Zumetrics, in turn, categorizes and integrates that data, making it easily available to the user. Currently, most firms don’t have the tools or the dedicated staff to do this effectively.  Many third-party services are focused strictly on competitive analysis for retailers and only collect data on products their customers specify.  Unlike those services, Zumetrics returns all products being promoted by a retailer, offering an analysis that tells the whole story

Zumetrics looks at all, not just a part, of the products and data at a given retail-site. Our engine, known as the Zume-Knowledge platform,  matches that data to that of other retailers, providing analytical data that far exceeds what’s available in the marketplace. Our clients, then, get much more comprehensive data that offers macro- and micro-views on both their dealers and products.

With that data in-hand, our clients then compare and contrast it on a number of different levels: product, category, brand, and retailer.  By collecting this data, Zumetrics becomes a powerful business-intelligence tool for both manufacturers and retailers. Manufacturers, then, can evaluate how retailers present their products to consumers, specifically aligning them against their competitors’ products. Retailers, on the other hand, can analyze both their competitors and the overall market to make decisions that impact and increase revenue.

In short, Zumetrics’ business challenge was to design a new product to meet the demands of today’s online marketplace.  And we were able to do that and more

3.    What sort of software development strategy did you pursue?

Being a startup, we chose to outsource to a leading firm for a bigger skill set, and proven development strategy. More than just a development shop, we needed a partner with go-to-market product methodology and track record.

We needed a firm with the same kind of agile mentality we have at Zumetrics; one able to adapt and adjust as we move forward.

4.    How did these new software products improve the product experience for users?

In our case, one deliverable was the core platform, the Zume-Knowledge platform I mentioned earlier. The other deliverable, equally important, was the user interface. On the back-end, our software analyzes immeasurable amounts of data which is organized and presented to the end-user in a very intuitive way. That, in turn, enables a deeper analysis both by and for that specific user.

Zumetrics is easily customized  by our clients and end-users. It can be easily adapted to suit each user’s needs. Users can analyze and define data sets, customize reporting, and fine-tune settings and alerts so they can be notified about market activity—like pricing shifts and product additions on retail websites.

Zumetrics also allows users to easily share data across the organization, to both departments and individuals. Data can be quickly exported and shared, for example, to analyze how a competitor reacts to online promotions.

5.    In the next 18-24 months, how do you see the nature of product development changing?

Because of the accelerating change of pace, I think the process will need to become more iterative and interactive for the end user. Because markets change so quickly, we need to embrace processes that give greater insight into end-users’ ever-changing needs, a critical component of product development.  Offering a solution to a problem that users encountered six months prior is simply too late.