How these 7 Startups are Disrupting Retail

The startup ecosystem is straight up bustling with companies disrupting retail. These startups are popping up in the space like no other. They range from helping merchants sell more, to enhancing shopping experiences, to improving customer loyalty and increasing repeat purchases. All of them are looking to disrupt the dynamics of the retail and the payments industry as we know it. We picked out 7 companies disrupting retail that you, as retailers, should be looking out for.

1. EDITD

Fashion retailers, brands, and suppliers have traditionally used pure instinct to forecast which garments to stock. EDITD seeks to change that. Founded in 2009, the London-based retail tech startup focuses on optimizing sales for the apparel industry by getting the right products, at the right price, at the right time by using big data technologies. They extract competitive intelligence and provide real-time analytics on pricing, assortment and product metrics. These insights help apparel professionals in making better buying, trading, merchandising and strategic decisions. EDITD is currently used by ASOS, Gap, Gilt Groupe, Missguided, Target, Motel and many more brands and retailers. As a retailer, you might want to look into EDITD if you do a lot of trend forecasting.

2. Belly

As you know, customer retention in the small business space, though a bit complicated, is critical for survival. Belly‘s CEO Logan Lahive saw the need for more effective loyalty and retention programs, and jumped in to fill this gap. Belly is a customer loyalty platform that offers shop owners the ability to provide customized rewards to shoppers, while delivering powerful business insights, such as shopping habits, to the merchant. It’s an iPhone app, complete with gamified user experience and social media integration. Belly uses QR code technology with both mobile apps and physical cards to drive repeat use by consumers and increase word-of-mouth adoption. CRM is critical to retailers and getting business insights could be extremely helpful when developing that perfect customer loyalty program. Consider using Belly, which currently sees about 300,000 user check-ins each week.

3. Gyft

Gyft is disrupting retail by digitizing gift cards through its mobile and web-based platforms. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of First Data Corporation, Gyft is giving the mobile gifting space a major face lift. There are 2 current problems we have with traditional gift cards: they’re either too often forgotten at home or there are just simply too many of them to manage. Using the Gyft app is pretty easy: Just key in the numbers from the plastic cards you receive and then use the app to send out virtual gift cards to friends.

Disrupting retail

4. SpyderLynk

For anyone with an eye for aesthetics, the black-and-white QR codes are an eye-sore. Though they are a very convenient invention that bridges the gap between traditional marketing and the online world with just at a snap of a phone camera, it’s time that QR codes got a makeover. Spyderlynk changes the way QR codes are presented, allowing brands to use their own logos in customized images that they call ‘SnapTags’. As a retailer, you might want to give these QR codes a shot to spice up your business.

5. Storefront

Storefront was launched last year with the idea of facilitating the popup retail phenomenon by renting retail estates. As a marketplace for finding and renting out popup spaces, they’re being dubbed as “the Airbnb of retail”, where retail space owners advertise available spaces to be rented out by the day, week, or month and are connected with prospective buyers. More than 1,000 merchants have used the platform to open up shop in New York and San Francisco, already generating $40 million in sales through those locations. If you’re a retailer looking to showcase your product in another location to gain more customers, you might want to consider Storefront.

6. ID.me

As store owners, you probably are already offering a loyalty program or some kind of discount program for military personnel, veterans, students, teachers, or first responders. But how do you verify that these people actually fall into these categories? ID.me accesses authoritative databases to confirm this while also pushing direct marketing to this group of customers. If you have a new product, message, or sale to this specific group of people, they can put you in touch with them right away. ID.me currently works with Under Armour, Overstock, Veterans Affairs, WWE, Tough Mudder and 5.11 Tactical. They charge their clients $1 per verification and in return, brands and retailers like you get to build customer loyalty among these powerful communities.

7. Vengo

Vengo is changing the business of vending machines and the way consumers impulse shop. Essentially, a “vengo” is a smaller sized vending machine with a touchscreen that brings a new dynamic to consumer interaction. When not being used, it serves as a screen of targeted advertisements. Vengo not only increases the amount of impulse purchases, which has recently been reported to fall by one third, it also offers a range of useful data for the merchant. As a retailer, you might want to consider installing a Vengo to add some flair to your store.

Disclosure: Gary Vaynerchuk, an investor in Bindo, is also an investor in Storefront and Vengo.

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