Interview with Ivana Marsic (Myrio)
Myrio is a virtual shopping advisor and multimedia solution for sales promotion within the retail industry.
I interviewed Ivana Marsic, Myrio founder to find out more. This interview is the seventy first in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Ivana for the interview!
How would you describe Myrio in under 50 words?
Myrio is a digital shopping advisor brought in-stores through the use of touch screens, tablets or mobile phones. Myrio brings an online experience to the offline world and provides a real time interaction with sales personnel creating more efficient shopping process. The Myrio increases both the retailers’ in-store cross & up selling capabilities and customers’ satisfaction.
What made you decide to found Myrio?
An initial idea for Myrio solution is a result of personal shopping experience and identification of shortfalls in existing shopping process. Shoppers often can’t find what they are looking for in shops, they are indecisive and don’t always have the confidence to match items. Retailers face the challenge of increasing sales in a more targeted way, being unique and always appealing to shoppers. Both shoppers and retailers are facing missed purchase and sales opportunities.
I found myself many times in situations that I had a wrong size in the fitting room and that there was no help from sales personnel, or I couldn’t simply find something in the store so I just left without making any purchase. Also, many times I saw something that I liked in a shop window on the way out and didn’t have time to go back. Then, an idea crossed my mind…if there is a tool helping me in the fitting room or shop area I would have made more purchases…
What’s your background?
We are a team with complementary skill set so we were able to develop a beautifully designed engineering product:
Ivana Marsic, CEO
M.Sc. E.E.; MBA, Simmons School of Management, Boston (awarded Ron Brown Scholarship); exec education at Harvard University and ASCI-Hyderabad, India, experience in managing sales and implementation of international projects such as intelligent networks, CRM, VPN, mobile applications and the integration of OSS BSS solutions at international telecom carriers working at Siemens company in Zagreb, Vienna and The Hague and experience in foreign direct investments at Investment Promotion Agency.
My two cofounders Matko and Neven are experienced electrical engineers (system engineer and solution architect) who have experience working on complex IT projects at top regional IT companies.
How did you come up with the name?
The original idea for the name was Myro from ‘my room’ but I wanted to find a more meaningful name. So I decided to do some research by finding similar terms in an Old Greek Dictionary. Then I found Myrio, which derives from the Greek word Myriad meaning ten thousand; very numerous, countless, boundless, infinite, untold. I felt a connection with the meaning and connotation ‘Myriad of Sales’ and the decision was made.
What was technically the most challenging part of developing Myrio?
Technically the most challenging part of the developing Myrio was the back end of the system: how to put together recommendations and gather data from different sources. We are still working on improving the back end system and making it more intelligent. Also, it was challenging to develop a user friendly interface to make it easy and simple to use. During testing period, we invited friends who are computer savvy and those who are not that much and asked them various questions to determine the best GUI model. It was surprising to see that majority of people who tested the system didn’t have a clue where to click. We have changed many things from the initial versions.
Congratulations on winning a gold award for innovation by VIDI, a leading regional IT magazine! Do you have any new features in the pipeline?
According to our product roadmap we have many new features in pipeline. Customers will be able to browse items and combinations, select and purchase fashion garments, share their in-store experiences, vote for their preferred items and much more!
What do you wish you’d have known 5 years ago that you know now? Where do you see Myrio in 5 years time?
A start-up has to be founded somewhere where an entrepreneurial ecosystem exists because in order to grow you have to be surrounded with a supportive environment that boosts innovation and provides mental maturity. Also, I realized the importance of the team and I would suggest to be very selective in choosing your team and to listen your intuition.
I believe in the potential of Myrio and honestly whenever I enter any shop I simply see touch screens and shoppers interacting with interactive applications on touch screens, tablets or mobile phones. That picture in my mind was actually driving me to start this and motivates me to continue. I think that the online and offline world will become fully integrated in the next few years and the offline world will become a playground for online scenarios and that service is going towards full personalization. I believe that in the next 3-5 years all shops will have touch screens or tablets allowing shoppers to interact more efficiently with stores, sales personnel and social communities.
We have developed a SW solution that will change the way people shop and the way retailers generate higher profits. Do you remember how only 15 years ago internet and mobile phones revolutionized our lives, and already today we cannot explain even to ourselves how we managed to live without it. Well, in a few years from now everybody, from customers to retailers will wonder: ‘How did I ever buy anything without this?’ or ‘How did I manage to sell anything without it?’.
Has Myrio got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?
We are in the process of growth, establishing strategic partnerships and acquiring retailers interested in innovative projects. The B2B sales cycle is long and bringing innovative products to market is a challenging process.
Can you convince the reader to start using Myrio in under 100 words?
All of you know that shopping takes time, especially you guys who are so frequently bored waiting for your better halves in the store:). You spend time but you can’t find what you want, then you find yourself in the fitting room with the wrong size but with no help around, so you have to put your clothes on again, get out of the fitting room, wait in line for the fitting room, then again wait in line to pay…and everything only for one shirt…Did you ever ask yourself…I feel alone here…what if I had an in-store tool that helped me and recognizes my needs wouldn’t that be convenient?
Finished reading? Check out Myrio!