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Brief Published: 4 Feb 2021

NRF 21 Start-Ups: Contactless Commerce, Live-Streaming & AR


Last month’s annual National Retail Federation (NRF) conference included a virtual expo hall to complement its main summit, spotlighting dynamic tech start-ups dedicated to solving the most pressing consumer conundrums. We distil three of the most notable, covering contactless checkout tech, live-streaming and augmented reality (AR).

Caast’s In-Grid Live Streaming

French live commerce specialist Caast allows live-streamed content to be integrated into e-commerce product pages. Product links for featured items appear beneath and can be added to shoppers’ baskets with one click. Users can post questions during the stream, to which other shoppers or the host brand can respond.

According to Caast, e-commerce conversion rates rise by 200-500% on average on the day of the live stream, remaining as much as 100% higher, permanently, after the stream has ended (the video still resides on the product homepage). Clients include beauty brand Clarins, kitchen appliance brand Moulinex, DIY brand Leroy Merlin and electronics retailer Darty (all French).

For more, see Live & Intimate E-Persuasion in Digital Commerce: 10 Trends & Opportunities 2021/22.

Nomitri’s In-App Self-Checkout

German autonomous check-out technologist Nomitri allows brands to integrate its self-checkout function into their own apps. To use, shoppers open the app and scan a product bar code with their smartphone. For items with no bar code, computer deduces the product and price. Coupons, offers and information pertaining to products automatically appear on screen when that product is scanned. To pay, consumers check-out in-app before exiting the store.

For more on self-checkout, see CES 2021: Retail & Media Tech and Creating the Contactless Store.

Expivi’s Browser-Based AR Personalisation

American AR technologists Expivi specialises in in-browser AR, allowing users to view products in 3D form within an e-commerce page. They can examine a product from 360°, place it within their space (if viewing an e-commerce page on their mobile device’s browser), and allow people to experiment with product personalisation, changing colourways or initials.

See also At-Home XR in Digital Commerce: 10 Trends & Opportunities 2021/22.