Christopher Tufford is the CEO of Smart Store Mobile and got involved with them in 2013. As an entrepreneur all of his business life, Christopher recognized that Location Marketing was about to become the next big thing.
Christopher approached Turnstyle Analytics, a Toronto based social wi-fi and consumer analytics company who were providing services to large box stores and national chains, in 2013 with a view to bringing the product to the small and medium business retail sector.
Christopher was born and raised in Burlington Ontario, attended Georgian College and as an entrepreneur has been involved with businesses as diverse as telecommunications, event management and iGaming. He lives in Waterdown with his wife and their 3 year old son.
BeTheBoss.ca: Tell us about the Smart Store Mobile franchise concept?
Christopher Tufford: This is the most exciting business opportunity available right now as it is set to explode over the next few years. This technology enables independent bricks and mortar retail establishments to finally compete with the resources of big national chains as well as leveling the playing field with on-line retailers. The concept is a 3 part product – social Wi-Fi, push-marketing campaigns and consumer analytics.
BTB: How and when did you become involved with Smart Store Mobile franchise?
CT: As I mentioned earlier, I approached Turnstyle Solutions in 2013 and developed their product to benefit smaller independent bricks and mortar retailers who do not necessarily have an in-house IT resource and large marketing budget.
BTB: What was your background prior to joining Smart Store Mobile franchise?
CT: I am a serial entrepreneur who has successfully developed wide ranging businesses over the years including such diverse markets as property management, telecom, event management and online poker.
BTB: What are some of the advantages of being a Smart Store Mobile Franchisee?
CT: Firstly, the key advantage is that this industry is brand new and there is little competition around currently, although this will not always be the case. Financially it is a low investment, quick ROI and significant repeat revenue streams. In addition it is a low cost service to retailers and there are a myriad of retail vertical markets that would benefit from this technology. It is home based, there are minimal operating expenses, the training is intense but fun and the support on-going
BTB: Who is your ideal Franchisee?
CT: A B2B professional with a sales and marketing background, preferably in the retail sector. Knowledge of the technology is less important as this is fully covered during training.
BTB: Tell us a little about the Location Marketing industry?
CT: When you buy goods on-line the retailer invariably grabs as much information about you before you complete the transaction which is used time and time again to bombard you with offers of similar products or services. There is now a way for bricks and mortar establishments to compete by simply installing social Wi-Fi, using the log-in information to understand their customers’ buying trends and by creating hyper targeted campaigns to engage them. This technology simply did not exist before the introduction of Apple’s iPhone in 2007.
BTB: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
CT: The realisation that there are not that many “technology based” franchise opportunities out there and that new and exciting business opportunities like Smart Store Mobile are very attractive to certain prospective franchisees who are not looking for the “typical” franchise opportunity with significant investment requirements and a long ROI period. The fun part for me, has been the steep learning curve required to bring a new business market sector to the franchise world.
BTB: Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?
CT: There are still lessons I learned from Wayne Huizenga’s book, The Making of a Blockbuster, that resonate and one of those was his high regard for businesses that produced recurring revenue streams. This business is one he would like since the business model has a monthly recurring revenue stream that is built upon month after month.
BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a franchise?
CT: Think outside the box; do not get sucked in to “traditional” franchise offerings. Look at the investment levels required, the ROI and the time it could take to actually be operational. Do your due diligence, speak to existing franchisees, ensure that training is provided and that ongoing 24/7 support is always available.
BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that Smart Store Mobile would be a great opportunity for someone?
CT: There are many compelling reasons:
- the unique nature of the industry
- the lack of any reasonable competition
- the low cost to the retailer
- the repeat revenue model
- the quick ROI
- the comprehensive training
- the on-going support
- and probably most importantly – the timing of this opportunity.