In the beginning, there were email lists. – Well, actually there were door-to-door salesmen, but I’ll start my thoughts from a point after the creation of the Internet. So, back to email lists. Many companies out there had lists of copious email addresses. Some of those addresses may have belonged to customers, others were just unknown strings of letters and numbers with an @ symbol in the middle. Who cared? The more email addresses, the better and companies were tickled pink to send messages, using them with the thought that even if only a few people read them, some sales may result – Blast away!
Bulk-email started landing in everybody’s inbox and it started to become annoying. There evolved a demand to put this barrage of unwanted messages out-of-sight and out-of-mind, so, the junk mail folder AKA spam folder, were invented.
But… It eventually was not enough to keep spam at bay. It continued to annoy until a dark rumbling could be heard throughout the communications industry. Rumors were afloat. Whispers of its arrival were spoken.
CASL is coming!
Hide your lists!
Delete your logs!
CASL will destroy all business, as we know it!
No one is to email anyone ever again unless you have written consent!
As for me, running a communication company that sends thousands of emails and SMS per day on behalf of our over 700 Canadian automotive dealerships, this was as paralyzing and terrifying as standing in the middle of the Trans-Canada highway while staring at the front grill of a fully-loaded 18 wheeler as it clipped at 100km per hour towards you. Where do you go? What do you do?
So, began my migraine-ridden search for a solution. There must be a way to get consumers to consent to receiving information and be happy about it.
In august 2013, I walked into a local mall and passed a large, well-known family clothing retailer. I noticed at least 200 feet of floor-to-ceiling glass windows that separated the store from the main hallway. There were 3 large posters that hung behind the glass. Beautiful, clean and bare… Really bare. “What a waste of space.” I thought as I carried on down the mall hallway. Then it was like someone whacked me upside the head with a thick-papered printout of all that CASL legislation. “What a waste of space! Don’t they know that CASL is coming?”
I walked back to the retailer, entered past all that glorious glass and confirmed my suspicions that defined our opportunity.
No one asked for my contact details.
No one asked for permission to contact me.
No one is storing customer information in a secure online database.
Those three facts were the start of my quest to create something that would bring the use of the customer list back into a positive light – Something that would work in harmony with CASL and that would benefit the customer…Greatly.
My AHA moment came to create the interactive sticker. This thin, versatile technology interacts with consumers’ smartphones to gather opt-in customer details in exchange for incentives. It stores this information in a database that has convenient and cool tracking functionality. It can also be displayed anywhere in the store to use up some valuable real-estate space. – Like on that 200 feet of glass-window at that clothing store, I mentioned.
So began Raange Interactive Inc. in 2013. Since that time, we’ve grown and continue to develop new ways to bridge retailers & brands with customers. We have a community of over 5 million customer-members benefiting both merchants and customers.
Glad I walked into the mall that day. Also, glad that I wasn’t actually standing on a highway staring at an 18 wheeler’s front grill as it sped towards my impending doom.
Life is good, I’d say.