Retail Expo 2019: Top Start-Ups
This year's Retail Expo in London (May 1-2) included a Start-Up Safari playing host to new tech innovations. We highlight the best, including a tool for helping people with learning difficulties flourish in the workplace, a next-gen home improvement app, and a concept enabling ethically transparent shopping.
- Aspect, The Online Space Planner: Easing the process of buying bathrooms and kitchens, Aspect by UK-based Digital Bridge is a space-planning tool that retailers can embed directly into their e-commerce platforms. Users upload inspiration images in order for the tool to learn users' aesthetic preferences; it then suggests only relevant items from the brand's product catalogue. Advanced 3D room-scanning tech enables users to input their floorplan without manual measuring. Consumers open the app and use their smartphone cameras to scan each relevant wall. This creates a bespoke plan which the customer can edit, in collaboration with staff, if desired. Brand staff can access customers' designs remotely. See also Interiors Retailing Online.
- How Do I? Tool Tackles Learning Difficulties in the Workplace: Helping those with learning difficulties acclimatise to work, UK-based How Do I? is an app enabling instructional video content to be accessed just by tapping a smartphone on a coded sticker. Retailers can place videos wherever needed, including on the shop floor, granting a greater level of autonomy. It has previously been deployed by Ikea and UK supermarket chain Iceland Foods. See Tech-Flex: Retail's Omni-Era Workforce for similar tools. Also see Empathetic Brand Engagement.
- CoGo Enables Ethical Shopping: Newly launched in London, New Zealand app CoGo connects users with local retailers that complement their ethics. Shoppers choose the issues that matter to them (living wage, climate change, etc.) and get recommendations of retailers fulfilling those criteria. Users who link their payment cards to the app receive automatic notifications on which charities the relevant retailer is supporting.
See Eco-Ethical Retail Tech, published on June 6, for more on retail tech's role in championing sustainability.