Last night, 15 startups showcased cutting edge retail technology solutions at the Plug and Play Brand and Retail Center of Innovation meetup. A handful of these companies gave rapid-fire pitches on stage to an audience of 150 corporate executives, investors, and entrepreneurs interested in the technologies that will change the world of retail.
Corporate sponsor and keynote speaker David Salisbury of processing and assembly technology company Star outlined the challenges and opportunities facing these startups.
“Retail innovation is interesting. When I look at the solutions available, I’m always thinking about how they can work in a physical location. Where I come from retail is brick and mortar.” David said.
He reminded the startups that there would always be a chunk of the retail market that will never fully exist online. He said, “You can’t get your haircut or wash your car online.”
Instead he offered a compromise, saying, “The offline guys need to create an online presence and the online guys need to create an offline presence. There has to be a hybrid solution between the two.”
He offered the companies who pitched some advice for entering the retail sphere:
- Respect the market. Not everyone is in the cloud. Solutions have to be done in stages.
- Think about the approach. Have a strategy. You need a road map to show retailers the goal and the stages that will get them there.
- Don’t shock the retailer. Never throw a man who thinks he drowning a rock, throw him a life raft. It’s innovation not decimation.
- Make sure your product is relevant. Know your customers. Being ‘cool’ doesn’t cut it in retail, you have to prove you can create revenue.
Here are the startups that pitched this year…
SmartAssistant: Provides the world’s leading technology for interactive product advice with guided selling solutions that integrate seamlessly into brands’ and retailers’ websites and kiosk/tablet applications at the point of sale.
ShoppinPal: a mobile shopping app that is fully integrated with various POS systems, and highly actionable analytics for stores.
ShoppingScout: With ShoppingScout’s simple list building tool Engage3 you can create a list in seconds with real products, prices and stores in your neighborhood.
The Mad Video: a platform to make videos clickable and monetize them, just by tagging products, places or people appearing on them.
IndoorAtlas: the world’s first company to utilize magnetic anomalies inside buildings and smartphones to pinpoint positions indoors.
Boardwalk: helps companies improve business results by providing a next-generation technology platform that enables companies to automate existing and build new business processes using a library of business process templates integrated with your systems of record.
Allthecooks: a social cooking app available on Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows8 and web, where you can not only find recipes, but also talk and follow cooks from all over the world.
Flame Retail Analytics: Flame is a cloud service that use existing video cameras to help brick and mortar retailers understand their customer’s behavior (how they move in the store, where they stop, etc), measure, improve and increase sales.