5 Minutes With Michael Langguth, Co-Founder, Poq

Can you tell me about Poq and what it does?

The app commerce company. Poq is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that empowers retailers to create highly effective and fully customised native apps in record time. Apps that allow them to build stronger brands, sell more of their products, deepen customer loyalty and deliver highly relevant content, communications and rewards. The platform will drive a $1 billion of revenue for our clients in the coming year.

Our platform is the result of years of focus on retail apps and is proven to increase conversion rates and revenue. New code is rolled regularly and major releases delivered every quarter. Our clients include the largest brands and retailers across a variety of verticals. Winners include: Missguided, PrettyLittleThing, Holland & Barrett, Fragrance Direct, Oasis, Warehouse and Made.com in the UK and Belk, Tobi, Urban Planet in North America among others.

Describe your role and responsibilities at Poq

At Poq I work mostly with our commercial teams from how we promote our proposition to the market, get them on-boarded onto the platform and then help them be successful as possible through our customer success team. I also look after our the app commerce ecosystem we have built that includes technology and agency partners. In the end of the day as a founder in a company like Poq I often have many jobs beyond this remit too.

What inspired you to start the company?

My co-founder Oyvind Henriksen and I came up with the idea for Poq based on Oyvind’s experience as the chief technology officer in a web development agency. He noticed that web development had evolved to become a primarily SaaS-based paradigm. Retailers use ecommerce platforms such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Magento to create and run their ecommerce websites but not their apps. Most apps are still “handcrafted” by expensive agencies or large in-house teams. Therefore, we decided we would provide an alternative to traditional forms of app development and we founded Poq – a commerce platform for mobile apps.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

The journey to create Poq has certainly been challenging, not only are we creating a new company but defining and creating a new category – app commerce. We spend a lot of our time educating companies about app commerce to make our clients successful. We’ve done this so well that technology leaders such as Paypal/Braintree and WorldPay choose to partner with us.  Startups are generally hard, we are creating a new company whilst creating a new category in retail – app commerce. This means we have to educate a lot of people and make sure we build lasting partnerships of companies including both our clients and the wider ecosystem of agencies and technology partners such as the likes of payment companies; Paypal/Braintree and Worldpay.

And the most rewarding?

We aim to bring the best service to our clients and to enable them to create the ultimate shopping experience for their customers. In order to bring the success that we do to our clients, we’ve built an extensive ecosystem of partners that enable our clients to bring exactly what they need to their shoppers. Growing this ecosystem and seeing the amazing things we’ve enabled our clients to do is very rewarding. We’ve partnered with innovators in a variety of technologies including; augmented reality providers, like Blippar, or marketing providers, like Emarsys, to make sure our clients apps’ achieve the goals they have set out for them. Our clients are often surprised with the success of their apps. For those without an app previously, they experience on average an additional 15% revenue in the first year alone.

We’ve just come out of the manic Black Friday period, how was it for Poq?

This Black Friday brought another record-breaking year for app commerce, our platform saw more visitors and more revenue than ever before while our infrastructure performed without a glitch. We were able to provide all of our clients and their customers with a smooth shopping experience with no down time. On Black Friday alone we serviced over 54 million API requests, three times more than the average day in October. On our platform we experienced an average of £2091.71 revenue per minute and a total of 21 years and 7 months spent by users on our clients’ apps! In the UK on Black Friday, we saw apps account for 44 per cent of mobile revenues. Showing us that more shoppers are choosing to shop via app.

What were the shifts in shopping habits you saw this year?

Unsurprisingly, we witnessed app commerce grow and take a larger share of mobile and overall web revenues. What we found most surprising was the fact that the busiest shopping hour on Black Friday (6pm) was not the hour that brought retailers the most sales and revenue. In fact, 10pm was the hour that we saw the most revenue through our platform and attribute this to the final push of retailers to drives sales before the end of the day through native app functionalities like push notifications and the fear from consumers of missing out on a good deal before the day is up.

What are your predictions for app commerce next Black Friday?

We anticipate app commerce will continue to grow not just in the number of sales transacted through apps but also in terms of its share of revenue and traffic from both mobile web and desktop. More shoppers will choose to shop via app and they’ll spend more time doing it. Additionally, retailers will become more reliant on app commerce as a revenue channel during this crucial trading period, as the ease, speed and better experience apps provide drives shoppers to apps. Savvy retailers will look to launch an app before next Black Friday and those who already have them must look to improve them as the competition grows.

How does the UK compare to the rest of the world in terms of app commerce?

In terms of app commerce, the UK is pretty far ahead outside Asia. China is probably the leading country where many supermarket checkouts are solely based on an app on your smartphone. In terms of the UK, shoppers have come to trust retailers with their personal details and the superior experience app shopping provide is a driving factor in their decisions to download a retailer’s app. Other countries are quickly catching up and as Flurry announced earlier this year, shopping apps have become the second fastest growing app category, which is huge if you think of how popular games are on smartphones or categories like travel.

What have we got to look forward to in the coming months from Poq?

We have a variety of projects ongoing at Poq, from our current expansion into the US, we’re quickly growing our customer-base in the US and look forward to working with more retailers there. We will also hosting our third annual App Commerce event in June, this is the only industry event that  focuses on retail apps.

Our latest industry research, due to be published in Q1 2019, expanding on the research we conducted over Cyber Weekend, looking at the impact of app commerce on the month of November and across Q4 as a whole.

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