Big chains like Starbucks and Subway have started accepting mobile and NFC based payments using card readers developed by Square and Roam. These mobile payment companies provide merchants analytics about their customers and businesses, and simplifies the payment process for the consumers. But, they do not provide a first time user any information regarding the service of a merchant. Thus, a customer visiting a restaurant at Grand Central Station in New York will not know whether their service is good or bad. This is what Ann Arbor based startup Wisely, seeks to achieve.
Wisely was co-founded by Michael Vichich (CEO) and Tyler Felous (Product Lead) in June 2013. Wisely tries to create a search engine of the physical world based on payments data. What it means is, that it will try to enable consumers to make better spending decisions utilizing the payment information of the merchants. They provide solutions for both consumers and merchants.
This video gives you an overview of Wisely’s platform:
Solutions for Consumers:
Wisely tries to provide consumers insights generated from the wealth of transaction data that has become available with the increase of cashless transactions. Analyzing this data, Wisely tells the consumers which is better place to shop or dine and how popular and expensive is the place. It tries to provide these insights based on three parameters:
- Average transaction amount: This is an indicator of the expensiveness of a place.
- Number of paying customers: More the number of paying customers, higher is the popularity of the place.
- Percentage of repeat customers: This indicates the quality of service offered by the place, since customers will only come back when they are satisfied with the service.
Wisely tries to provide this data to its consumers before they visit a place, so they can make better decisions using the information available on different alternatives. Thus, with one click of the app, a consumer can know where to shop. A user can also store loyalty cards in his/her mobile, facilitating the user to maximize the return on his/her payment.
But Wisely does more than telling users where to shop. Through its Dashboard, it allows users to manage their personal finances. It works through the following features:
- At any point of time, the Dashboard shows how much money is available for spending
- It categorizes the spending into sections like groceries, retail, so a user can understand his/her expenditures better
- It creates a quick budget in sixty seconds to optimize spending habits of users
- It also compares the monthly average expenditure with the targeted objective, facilitating the users to have better control over their financial lives
Solutions for Businesses:
Using Wisely, merchants can understand their customers better. Therefore, they can know when their most profitable customer has entered the store. Merchants can also send targeted messages to their customers.
Wisely’s core objective is to enable their customers to make more informed decisions based on transaction data. Other review services like Yelp and Zagat have also tried to utilize the wisdom of the crowds and provide users reviews of places and restaurants. But what these products lack is the support of data. As revealed in a recent investigation by New York attorney general, 20% of Yelp reviews are fake. This is possible in Yelp as the reviews are written by people, which can be false. But Wisely’s recommendation are based on transaction data, which cannot be faked. In that sense, Wisely is like a quantified version of Yelp.
Wisely has a comprehensive set of features. But their true effectiveness can only be determined once consumers start using the product. Since the product is still in development, how these features will operate and fare out is still not clear. Consumers could sign up on their website to be notified when Wisely launches.