How startups are shaking up retail

Posted Nov 17, 2018 by Tim Sandle
The retail sector is nor having the easiest of times, especially on the high street, which challenges coming from big ecommerce sites like Amazon and new startups. Some technology from startups can assist established firms, others present a challenge.
Galleria shopping centre  Hatfield  UK.
Galleria shopping centre, Hatfield, UK.
Retail has shifted considerably in recent years. There has been a major challenge from digital technology. In addition, consumer expectations and patterns have altered. With the latter point, consumers expect great service and rapid delivery. According to the Global Marketing Alliance, the “entitled consumer is here to stay and they expect you to deliver.”
A consequence of digital changes has meant that retail and consumer goods organizations have struggled to maintain market share. This is due to the encroaching of digital retailers and the tools they are using to attract consumers.
READ MORE: How retailers are responding to disruptive challenges
Carnaby street in London for the Holidays.
Carnaby street in London for the Holidays.
The marketplace has also been disrupted by startups. Six examples, three of which challenge retailers and three of which set out top help retailers, are:
Helix provides direct online competition to stores and more general digital merchants. Helix makes a custom mattress based on a customer’s sleeping style and preferences. This personalization is intended to deliver a new sleep experience, and if a customer is not happy after 100 nights, the mattress an be returned.
The second challenger selected is a clothing provider with a difference. AELLA produces activewear-inspired women's workwear. The clothes are based on technical fabrics and the workwear is described as stretchy, wrinkle-resistant, and sweatproof. As an online provider, the company has made inroads into similar types of clothing provided by stores.
The third challenger is in the travel and tourism space and it is called Journy. This is service set to change the way a person travels. For $25 per day of travel, the app creates a personal travel itinerary for the user, allowing them to discover a city and challenging traditional travel concierges.
People in a cafe at a shopping centre  Hatfield UK.
People in a cafe at a shopping centre, Hatfield UK.
A different type of startup is one and that provides business-to-business services to retailers, and such an example is Edited. Launched in 2009 by Geoff Watts and Julia Fowler, Edited uses retail analytics to understand product trends, for perfect launches and promotion timings. It is designed to be a strategic tool for retail teams worldwide.
Adeptmind is “an intelligent engine for online retailers that lets customers search the way they think”. Plus the platform aims to help retailers establish a site that can “ perform better than your best in-store sales associate.” The service aims to avoid the ‘no results found’ message when it comes to consumer search and seeks to do so by using deep learning and natural language processing.
Email remains a useful way for retailers to communicate with their audience. Bluecore is focused on helping retailers to improve how they email. The platform uses data to improve the relevance of emails that customers receive – so that they want to keep receiving them. This works on the basis that the more targeted an email is the more likely someone is to buy.