Staff at Asda, Wickes and Halfords are no longer carrying cumbersome walkie-talkies or calling for a “Cleaner on aisle one!” over the tannoy; they use wireless headsets from VoCoVo to stay in constant contact and deliver exceptional customer service.
The West Oxfordshire based technology firm, which appears in the Fast50 for the second consecutive year, has a suite of products aimed at all kinds of large retailers. Founder Rob Gamlin explains: “Among this year’s new features, we have voice-enabled self-checkout interventions, allowing colleagues to boost throughput while observing social distancing. We also allow head office colleagues to send messages using DM tools such as Teams and Slack, which we voice enable for teams on the shop floor.”
Gamlin is taking the business from a straightforward hardware supplier to more of a subscription model: “Our solution is transforming, becoming less reliant on capital expenditure and moving toward a recurring revenue model,” he says. “That makes the product stickier and opens up additional and diverse revenue streams.”
Gamlin has a developing market in Europe with a customer base in 21 countries and is now making inroads into North America. “We have done a lot of ground work,” he says. “Ongoing conversations with some large retailers look very promising for VoCoVo in this region”. The global COVID pandemic has presented some friction to international growth, however. “It’s difficult to break new markets when you can’t fly into that country – that said, the pandemic has not reduced demand in the UK and Europe.” Gamlin observes.
The former electronics and software engineer is driven by his passion for progress. While global expansion plans maybe on hold he has shifted his focus to expanding the VoCoVo offering with new innovations including a unique solution for smaller retailers: “I’m spending a lot of time making sure the product is right for all environments not just enterprise.”
Being a technology innovator based in West Oxfordshire has its benefits – and downsides. Gamlin explains: “The heart of our business is our fast-growing team in the middle of the Cotswolds. There’s a lot of love for that. It differentiates us. But it can present challenges when it comes to bringing talent in from further afield.”
The rural base belies true international ambition; “We are a globally-minded business,” says Gamlin. “COVID has taught us that we can hire from anywhere.”
The market for VoCoVo solutions is truly vast, according to Gamlin. “When it comes to workforce management or back-office stock control for example, someone always has to hold some kind of device, which removes your eyes and one hand from the retail environment.” he says. “We give those faculties back.”
Gamlin is driven by two things: a passion for progress and a fear of failure. “I love the growth, the prospects, the innovation here,” he says. “And I hate failure. I hate anything less than perfect. If I can see a way of doing something better, I want to do it. That’s innate.”