Startups are outfitting retailers with augmented reality, beacons, wearables, and more to bridge the gap between digital and physical shopping.

Brick-and-mortar retail is a high-stakes business. And, while it might seem as if e-commerce has taken over, Americans still do over 90% of our shopping in physical stores. In fact, one of the latest trends in retail is the launch of physical stores by online e-commerce companies, including Amazon, Warby Parker, and Birchbox.

To help retailers bridge the gap between digital and physical commerce, and keep up with e-commerce competitors, dozens of startups have developed in-store technology ranging from shelf-stocking robots, to augmented reality displays, to Wi-Fi-based beacons that collect data on shopper behavior. Many companies focus on optimizing existing store operations with the injection of cloud-based software and mobile apps, helping retailers manage things like employee scheduling, mobile payments, coupons, and shelf stocking. Others have paved entirely new paths for data collection and shopper engagement. Many even leverage frontier technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented/virtual reality, and Internet of Things connectivity.

Using CB Insights data, we identified startups enhancing the in-store experience with digital tools. Scroll down to view the infographic and read more about the categories we identified.

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This infographic is not exhaustive of companies in the category. We included private, active companies only.

Please click to enlarge.

9.28 Final Store Graphic

Category breakdown

Augmented/Virtual Reality Tools - Startups that leverage augmented or virtual reality to aid retailers in layout of stores and the design of promotional displays. InContext Solutions, which has worked with clients like Walmart, Nestle, and Kellogg’s, lets brands visualize marketing concepts and test new designs on shoppers in virtual reality to gauge their efficacy before launch. Augment aims to help brands, such as General Mills, L’Oreal, and Coca-Cola, pitch their vending machines, kiosks, or merchandise displays to retailers by showing how they would look in augmented/virtual reality.

Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing - Companies that provide hardware and software to help stores track visitors. Many focus on data collection for internal analytics, such as merchandise tracking, adjusting staffing levels, monitoring promotions, etc. Euclid Analytics, for example, tracks visitors to monitor the impact of promotions on driving store visits and to better understand when people visit stores and specific aisles. Others focus on proximity marketing to shoppers while in or near stores. For example, Estimote provides small, colorful beacons that send push notifications to users’ phones about products or promotions when it senses someone near. Kimetric’s sensors aim to visually identify shoppers’ age, gender, eye focus, and clothing style to present them with personalized marketing. This category includes the most well-funded company in the graphic: RetailNext, with $189M in funding, offers traffic sensors, customer route mapping, mobile marketing, and more.

Connected Shopping Carts - Startups that outfit shopping carts with digital features. For example, Gatekeeper and Carttronics outfit shopping carts with RFID tags to track the carts and prevent theft.

Customer Loyalty - Reward and loyalty platforms for retailers. Thirdshelf provides white-label loyalty program software, while Dealyze installs tablets by the cash register to encourage loyalty program signup and let customers track their rewards. LevelUp lets customers pay by phone and earn rewards.

Digital In-Store Assistants - Fellow Robots and Simbe Robotics launched robots that can act as store associates, checking store shelves and guiding customers throughout the store. Fellow Robots recently launched its Navii robot in 11 Lowe’s stores in California, while Simbe has tested its Tally robot in Target. Satisfi, on the other hand, provides a mobile app leveraging artificial intelligence to help shoppers in-store; it recently piloted its app in conjunction with IBM Watson in Macy’s.

Digital Signage - Companies that provide stores with connected, digital signs to advertise products inside stores, provide shoppers with product information, or let stores adjust product pricing in real-time. For example, Blue Bite recently raised its $2.5M in funding to create product tags enriched with QR codes and NFC technology.

Employee Tools - A variety of messaging tools and planning platforms for retail store staff. Branch, for example, which graduated from Techstars in June, offers internal messaging networks for retail employees. Salesfloor provides software that helps associates maintain consistent relationships with customers across store and online channels.

Guest Wi-Fi - Startups that enable free in-store Wi-Fi for retailers. The companies generally use the Wi-Fi to track shoppers and provide stores with customer analytics. Zenreach, for example, has raised $50M from investors including First Round Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, and 8VC.

Indoor mapping - These startups take advantage of connected devices to create detailed indoor maps of stores and malls. Retailers leverage the apps to help users find the right items and direct them to promotions.

In-Store Point-of-Sale Financing - Startups that let shoppers instantly apply for and receive loans or installment plans while shopping in-store. Blispay, with $14M in funding from investors including NEA, lets users apply for financing on their phones while in-store.

Interactive Aisle Displays - Startups producing interactive digital displays and kiosks – often in tablet form – to attract shoppers within store aisles. Aila, for example, mounts iPads in aisles to offer price scanning, product information, etc., while Ksubaka provides “playSpot” kiosks with gamification features on tablets advertising products. Ksubaka works with brands such as Coca-Cola, Nescafe, Dove, Colgate, and Kellogg’s in stores throughout Asia.

Inventory Management - Startups that help stores track inventory and optimize merchandising, generally using cloud-based software. Some, such as Celect and Blue Yonder, also use artificial intelligence to provide predictive merchandising analytics.

Music Management - Startups that help stores manage their in-store music playlists.

Omnichannel Analytics - Platforms integrating in-store and e-commerce analytics for a more seamless shopper experience. For example, ShoppinPal helps retailers digitize their store and payment management and integrate inventory across brick-and-mortar and e-commerce channels. OneView Commerce aims to better engage multi-channel shoppers.

Payment Platforms - Software that handles payments for consumers at retailers. Since payment platforms is a massive category, we restricted inclusion to companies that only process payments and focus on retail stores.

Point-of-Sale Reviews and Marketing - Startups that provide digital add-ons to the checkout process for customers in-stores. TruRating and Wyzerr solicit satisfaction ratings from shoppers at the checkout counter. MessageWrap (Handstand Innovations) adds visual advertising to checkout conveyor belts at stores like Target and Safeway. FlexReceipts and Ecrebo can add personalized offers and incentives to shoppers’ receipts, aiming to attract return visits.

Smart dressing rooms - Oak Labs created an interactive, touchscreen mirror that lets shoppers request new items, adjust fitting room lighting, and see outfit recommendations. The mirror can sense which products the shopper brought into the room using RFID technology, and then present related products, save the items to shoppers’ online accounts, or display related items. Oak has worked with Polo Ralph Lauren.

Store Management Software - Broad platforms that help retailers manage merchandise, process payments, manage employees, etc., allowing for the handling of many of the operations of the store from one application. These startups include some of the most well-funded in the category, including Revel with $129M, Lightspeed POS with $126M, and Shopkeep POS with $97M.

Visual Shelf Monitoring - Startups that help consumer packaged goods brands monitor the presentation of their merchandise on store shelves and track the results of in-store promotions and visual displays. Some rely on in-store cameras and artificial intelligence features, while others leverage crowdsourced intelligence from shoppers and store associates.

Company list

In-Store Tech Market Map Company List
Company Category Select Investors
Augment Augmented/Virtual Reality Tools Salesforce Ventures
Experenti Augmented/Virtual Reality Tools Undisclosed
InContext Solutions Augmented/Virtual Reality Tools Hyde Park Venture Partners, Plymouth Ventures
Trillenium Augmented/Virtual Reality Tools ASOS Ventures
AreaMetrics Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Startup Capital Ventures, Quest Venture Partners
Beabloo Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Baozun
bfonics Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Undisclosed
Ebizu Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Cradle Fund
Estimote Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Bessemer Venture Partners, Innovation Endeavors
Euclid Analytics Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Harrison Metal, NEA, Benchmark
Footmarks Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Commerce.Innovated
Grey Jean Technologies Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Cosmas Wong
Ifinity Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing SpeedUp Venture Capital Group
Innorange Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Undisclosed
Kimetric Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Microsoft Ventures Accelerator
Minodes Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing MarketTech
Monolith Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Startup Wise Guys
Movvo Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Caixa Capital
Percolata Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures
Plexure Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Vix Investments
Pulsate Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing PayPal, Delta Partners
Radius Networks Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Core Capital Partners, Contour Venture Partners
RetailNext Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing August Capital, Commerce Ventures, Nokia Growth Partners, StarVest Partners
Scanalytics Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Wearable IoT World Labs
Sensorberg Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing WestTech Ventures, Berlin Technologie Holding
Sewio Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Y Soft Venture Capital
Shelfbucks Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Capital Factory
ShopAdvisor Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Seavest Capital Partners
Swirl Networks Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Twitter Ventures, Longworth Venture Partners, Softbank Capital
SyncSpot Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Collider
Tamecco Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Yume no Machi SoZo Iinkai
Unacast Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Investinor, Open Ocean Capital
VideoMining Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Ben Franklin Technology Partners
Viewsy Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing Qualcomm Ventures, Kima Ventures
Walkbase Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing SBT Venture Capital
Carttronics Connected Shopping Carts Undisclosed
Gatekeeper Systems Connected Shopping Carts Undisclosed
AppCard Customer Loyalty Founders Fund, Innovation Endeavors, Peter Thiel
Belly Customer Loyalty Andreessen Horowitz, Lightbank, NEA, Cisco Investments, 7-Ventures
BuzzMeDo Customer Loyalty SparkLabKC
Dealyze Customer Loyalty Y Combinator
GetOne Rewards Customer Loyalty Milestone Venture Partners, Atlanta Technology Angels
Intelligent Clearing Network Customer Loyalty Early Stage Partners, LaunchCapital
Koupon Customer Loyalty Mercury Fund, Trailblazer Capital
LevelUp Customer Loyalty Google Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Balderton Capital
Perkville Customer Loyalty Sand Hill Angels, Xandex Investments, Fifth Era
Thirdshelf Customer Loyalty iNovia Capital
ZAP Customer Loyalty Kickstart Ventures, Wavemaker Partners, Seawood Resources
Fellow Robots Digital In-Store Assistants HAX, Crowdfunder
Satisfi Digital In-Store Assistants Stadia Ventures, DreamIt Ventures
Simbe Robotics Digital In-Store Assistants HAX
Altierre Digital Signage ATA Ventures, Kinetic Ventures, Labrador Ventures, DuPont Capital Management
Blue Bite Digital Signage Undisclosed
Enplug Digital Signage 500 Startups, #Dominate Fund
ScanLife Digital Signage Masthead Venture Partners, Hudson Ventures, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital
SpyderLynk Digital Signage Forerunner Ventures, Viridian Investment Partners
Branch Messenger Employee Tools Techstars
PredictSpring Employee Tools Beanstalk Ventures, Felicis Ventures
Proxidyne Employee Tools Undisclosed
Salesfloor Employee Tools White Star Capital, BDC Venture Capital
ShiftPlanning Employee Tools Point Nine Capital, MHS Capital
Shyft Technologies Employee Tools Madrona Venture Group
Theatro Employee Tools Khosla Ventures, Aristos Ventures
Tulip Retail Employee Tools BoxGroup, Jump Capital, Lerer Hippeau Ventures
Zinc Employee Tools CRV, Emergence Capital Partners
AllUnite Guest Wifi Northzone Ventures
Cheerfy Guest Wifi Metro Accelerator
i2e1 Guest Wifi Growx Ventures Management
Socifi Guest Wifi Keiretsu Forum
Zenreach Guest Wifi 8VC, First Round Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, Felicis Ventures
Aisle411 Indoor Mapping Cultivian Ventures, St. Louis Arch Angels
Cartogram Indoor Mapping Undisclosed
Indoora Indoor Mapping Startupbootcamp Smart Transportation & Energy
IndoorAtlas Indoor Mapping Mobility Ventures, Baidu
NextNav Indoor Mapping NEA, Columbia Capital, Telecom Ventures
Palmap+ Indoor Mapping TusPark Ventures
Blispay In-Store Point-Of-Sale Financing Accomplice, NEA, FirstMark Capital
Credda In-Store Point-Of-Sale Financing Undisclosed
Divido In-Store Point-Of-Sale Financing BMW Innovation Lab, DN Capital, Mangrove Capital Partners
Lendpro In-Store Point-Of-Sale Financing CIT GAP Funds
LoanHero In-Store Point-Of-Sale Financing Mucker Capital, Alsop-Louie Partners
Vyze In-Store Point-Of-Sale Financing Austin Ventures, StarVest Partners
Aila Interactive Aisle Displays Romulus Capital, Bolt Innovation Group
Cloudtags Interactive Aisle Displays Knoll Ventures, Foundry Group, IDEA Fund Partners
EyeQ Interactive Aisle Displays Corsa Ventures, DreamIt Ventures
Ksubaka Interactive Aisle Displays Undisclosed
MokiMobility Interactive Aisle Displays Epic Ventures, Pelion Venture Partners, Allegis Capital
Vengo Interactive Aisle Displays VTF Capital, BoxGroup
Blubirch Inventory Management Chicago Capital Ventures
Blue Yonder Inventory Management Warburg Pincus
Celect Inventory Management In-Q-Tel, August Capital, Activant Capital Group
Inturn Inventory Management Forerunner Ventures, Lerer Hippeau Ventures
Nextail Inventory Management Nauta Capital
Shopventory Inventory Management Undisclosed
Stitch Labs Inventory Management True Ventures, Triangle Peak Partners
Unleashed Inventory Management K1W1
ATMO Select Music Management SA Framtak
Kazum Music Management Undisclosed
Rockbot Music Management Detroit Venture Partners, Susa Ventures, Google Ventures
Soundtrack Your Brand Music Management Spotify, Creandum, Northzone Ventures
Index Omnichannel Analytics General Catalyst Partners, Innovation Endeavors, Khosla Ventures
NewStore Omnichannel Analytics General Catalyst Partners
OneView Commerce Omnichannel Analytics Undisclosed
ShoppinPal Omnichannel Analytics Steelhead Ventures, Plug and Play Ventures
Welcome Commerce Omnichannel Analytics FirstMark Capital, Commerce Ventures, BoxGroup, Lerer Hippeau Ventures
Fattmerchant Payment Platforms Fan Fund, Wet Paint Ventures
FreedomPay Payment Platforms BlueRun Ventures, Core Capital Partners
Mobeam Payment Platforms Draper Athena, yet2Ventures, Samsung Ventures
Muume Payment Platforms Heliad Equity Partners
Payworks Payment Platforms SpeedInvest, Rumford
Poynt Payment Platforms Google Ventures, Matrix Partners, Nyca Partners
Ecrebo Point-of-Sale Reviews and Marketing Octopus Ventures
FlexReceipts Point-of-Sale Reviews and Marketing The Angel Roundtable, venVelo, Struck Capital
MessageWrap Point-of-Sale Reviews and Marketing Undisclosed
truRating Point-of-Sale Reviews and Marketing SandAire
Wyzerr Point-of-Sale Reviews and Marketing Connectic Ventures
Oak Labs Smart Dressing Rooms Wing Venture Capital, R/GA Accelerator
BindoPOS Store Management Software East Ventures, Metamorphic Ventures
Frogtek BOP Store Management Software Undisclosed
Lightspeed POS Store Management Software Accel Partners, iNovia Capital
Revel Systems Store Management Software Intuit, DCM Ventures, Frontier Tech VC
RICS Software Store Management Software Undisclosed
Shopkeep POS Store Management Software Tribeca Venture Partners, TTV Capital, Canaan Partners
Squadle Store Management Software 500 Accelerator, Bolt Innovation Group
Clic and Walk Visual Shelf Monitoring Breega Capital, CITA Investissement
Eversight Visual Shelf Monitoring Emergence Capital Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures
GoSpotCheck Visual Shelf Monitoring Insight Venture Partners, Venture51
Mobee Visual Shelf Monitoring Flint Capital, Accomplice, Stage 1 Ventures
Observa Visual Shelf Monitoring Undisclosed
Quri Visual Shelf Monitoring Catamount Ventures, Simon Equity Partners, Matrix Partners
Shelvspace Visual Shelf Monitoring Tallwave Capital, AngelList
StoreFlix Visual Shelf Monitoring CincyTech

 

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