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.
This infographic is not exhaustive of companies in the category. We included private, active companies only.
Please click to enlarge.
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.
|In-Store Tech Market Map Company List|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Stitch Labs||Inventory Management||True Ventures, Triangle Peak Partners|
|ATMO Select||Music Management||SA Framtak|
|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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