How one digital commerce startup turns window shoppers into window buyers

imageSurge helps retailers bring digital experiences to physical storefronts

If ever there was an area crying out for innovation, it’s the retail storefront.

Sweetening the deal for a disruptive startup like imageSurge: There are a lot of storefronts out there.

imageSurge, founded in 2012, cut its teeth in the real estate market. Its patent-pending technology rapidly transforms storefronts into through-glass touch interactive platforms — without modifications to infrastructure. This bit of innovation earned the company a spot as one of three finalists in the Shop.org Digital Commerce Startup of the Year competition.

Shop.org’s Digital Commerce Startup of the Year competition honors the best, brightest and most innovative new efforts in retail — and offers a $20,000 grand prize. This year’s winner will be named during Retail’s Digital Summit, Sept. 26–28 in Dallas.

“There was obviously a lot of uncertainty and risk,” CEO and co-founder Oleg Vyadro says of the startup’s early days, when co-founders were doing installations all over the country.

“We enter the retail market with a mature operation, a stellar customer service reputation (recognized recently as a Top 50 U.S. real estate service provider), Fortune 500 clients and unmatched storefront consumer interaction know-how,” Oleg says. “We are also bringing something new to the table, which is a network of available third-party storefront locations where retailers can rent window space and economically establish brand and transactional presence, enabled by our technology.”

For Oleg, being named a finalist in this competition is a chance for exposure and recognition: “For our entire company it’s an honor and a tremendous opportunity to be heard,” he says.


President and co-founder Ilya Alshine had more to say about digital disruption and the future of retail:

How do you define a “disrupter” in retail?

There are many ways to approach this, but one definition is a solution that fundamentally transforms any of the customer purchasing decision drivers, the main ones being convenience, value and experience.

What other disruptions in retail are you keeping your eye on?

Emerging technologies pertaining to digital fabrication, wearable devices, Internet of Things and digital payments. The last two are in fact components of the imageSurge Intelligent Storefront Ecosystem.

Rendering of an imageSurge retail storefront

What does the bricks-and-mortar store of the future look like to you?

Bricks-and-mortar will be transformed into another type of digital platform, enabling many of the same sales (transactions, payments, inventory) and marketing (communications, customization, analytics) capabilities and consumer experiences that have revolutionized online commerce.


Quick takes

Rapid-fire questions for Oleg Vyadro:

If I wasn’t doing this I would be … location scouting and food tasting for Anthony Bourdain.

The last thing I bought in a store was … a book called “The Pigeon Tunnel.”

The most important thing I’ve learned through this adventure is … “this ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco …”

I love this business because  of the innovation opportunity.

The next step for imageSurge is … making window shopping a literal concept.

The best advice I ever got was … look both ways before crossing.


Want to learn more about the disrupters of today — and tomorrow? Don’t miss Retail’s Digital Summit from Shop.org, featuring insights from Google, Shinola Detroit, Sephora, Land’s End, Stitch Fix and more, Sept. 26–28 in Dallas.