Retail Business Tech Expo, 2017: Best Tech Innovators
Hundreds of technology start-ups exhibit at the Retail Business Technology Expo every year. We spotlight three of the most significant from the 2017 edition, and the brands they’re already partnering with.
Hero X Made.com – Conversational Commerce: British furniture e-tailer Made.com (which also has several physical showrooms) is collaborating with London-based start-up Hero to increase the productivity of its store assistants. When stores are quiet, Made.com staff can change their status to ‘available’ on the Hero software, using store iPads or smartphones. This allows online customers to click on an icon on the website and message them with questions about products. Store assistants can also add video streaming to the conversation to give e-onlookers mini product tours.
Hero claims conversion of customers using the service is 16%, compared to a 1% average for those browsing standard homeware e-tail sites. See also Interiors Retailing Online.
Rebecca Ruddle, Made.com’s head of showrooms, said: “We believe if you are knowledgeable and friendly, customers will feel they are having a conversation rather than going through a transaction. They’re more likely to stay loyal. We wanted to bridge the gap between online and offline with a conversational experience.”
Sentient X Cosabella – Everyday AI: US lingerie brand Cosabella is working with San Francisco-based artificial intelligence (AI) provider Sentient to overhaul how it makes everyday business decisions. As part of this, it trialled a variety of different landing page designs derived from machine-learning insights. The switches included using larger images, exchanging black buttons for pink ones, and replacing messages about free shipping with those concerning the (family-owned) brand’s family-focused culture.
Tellingly, Cosabella chief executive Guido Campello revealed the design that led to the best results was very different to the one he would have chosen, and that he doubted he would have signed it off.
Lola’s Cupcakes X RotaGeek – Machine Learning Workforce Management: British confectionery brand Lola’s Cupcakes has exchanged the basic Excel spreadsheet it was using to determine work schedules for a group-connected app that allows workers to manage their shifts and holidays remotely, via smartphone. Most significantly, it also pulls in critical sales metrics and suggests how many staff are needed for each shift based on historic footfall data. See also Retail: Workforce Tech Innovations, 2017.