PROFILE

Marko Kovac

CEO & Co-Founder
Marko brings over 15 years of experience building business software solutions as a developer, solution architect, and project manager. He co-founded Repsly as a result of a mobile SFA solution he built for a global cosmetics company. Prior to Repsly, Marko also co-founded Ewidi, a multilingual and multicultural social platform, and Snizenja.com, a price comparison platform.
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  • Posted on: 05/03/2017

    Will chatbots drive a ‘conversational commerce’ trend?

    While I'm not convinced ordering via chatbot is necessarily easier, faster, or more satisfying than ordering via a well-designed mobile app (I'm looking at you, Starbucks), the chatbot approach does has one massive advantage over standalone apps -- there's no need to download (or store) yet another app. With every retailer, conference, event, and connected device featuring a unique app, consumers are quickly getting sick of having to download and sort through dozens of apps they only use once every couple of months. The benefit of Facebook Messenger-based chatbots is that they can all exist in a single app most consumers already own. With this in mind, I believe this type of chatbot has better staying power in the long term, even if it isn't quite valuable enough just yet.
  • Posted on: 04/25/2017

    Would Albertsons and Whole Foods make a good match?

    While Albertsons may benefit from adding a natural grocer like Whole Foods to its portfolio, Whole Foods would risk losing its image/status as an independent, innovative retailer. Whole Foods may be in a position to accept some financial help, but things aren't nearly bad enough for them to consider such a "bailout" that would devalue their brand. Whole Foods still has room to develop the natural grocery market and redefine innovation in the space. If they should fail at that over the next decade, it might be time to consider such an acquisition.
  • Posted on: 04/18/2017

    What’s keeping shoppers away from the frozen aisle?

    It seems that the problem for the frozen aisle is happening on two fronts. First, there is an external push on consumers to shop for fresh ingredients. Grocery chains are pushing this by having produce displayed by the entrance and keeping the frozen section in the middle/back of most stores. Second, merchandising and displaying sales and new items is inherently more difficult in the frozen section. A glass door separates the consumer from easily picking up and looking at new products or alternative brands, and the shelf structure means that products are limited in size/shape, so having eye-catching displays is difficult as well. The only way that frozen food will see a revival is increasing traffic to the aisle and coupling that with promotional displays to signal new products or promotions.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2017

    Are outlet malls an outlier?

    The online shopping experience, with its personalized promotions and sharable discount codes, has conditioned Millennials to crave (almost require) deals when spending any significant amount of money. For now at least, outlet malls are able to replicate that experience in a brick-and-mortar setting -- offering enough value to overshadow Gen Yers' typical distaste for traditional shopping malls. That position could change, however, as online discount programs continue to improve the personalization and timelines of the deals they serve up.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2017

    Will online sampling engage customers and drive trial at Sam’s Club?

    While online sampling achieves the goal of getting new products into shoppers hands, it cannot achieve what I think is the more valuable aspect of in-store demos: communicating a brand's culture and inspiring shoppers to want to become part of the brand's community. Therefore, online sampling may effectively convince people who usually buy trail mix (for example) to select a certain brand next time they're at the store -- but it is far less likely to inspire people who don't usually eat trail mix to jump in and make trail mix part of their new routine. That takes the pull of connection and brand culture.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2017

    Can Amazon Cash open e-commerce up to millions of underbanked consumers?

    While the problem of unbanked and underbanked consumers not shopping online may be a very real problem for Amazon, I don't think that the concept of Amazon Cash as described above will radically change the way this group shops. Here's why: There are already plenty of ways to shop online without a bank account of any kind. The above solution is only incrementally easier than going to CVS and purchasing a Visa gift card and then entering the details of the card when you go to make a purchase. Another issue Amazon may face is that many consumers make online purchases as soon as they realize they need or want something. Household goods and office supplies that just ran out, a new book or movie they just read about, etc. With Amazon's proposed solution, consumers would either have to decide that they always want to carry an Amazon balance, or they would have to go to one of the physical store locations above, load their account, then go online and make the purchase. Despite these issues, I think that Amazon Cash is a step in the right direction and could potentially convert some one-off Amazon shoppers into regular customers.
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