When Tech Meets Retail

when tech meets retail, a park like view in center of a large city

Global retail sales are expected to reach 24 trillion USD in 2023, 80% of which will still take place through physical stores. In the UK, the retail sector is the largest private-sector employer, accounting for 13.8 percent of all jobs.[1] It shapes our towns and high streets and is a visible reminder of the impact of COVID.

New technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality are increasingly being deployed to create digital experiences in stores and “in-store” experiences online. Global spending on AR/VR retail showcasing is expected to grow at a CAGR of 138.7% through 2023.[2] In fact, by 2030, technology will affect a third of all tasks in the UK retail market, placing the United Kingdom at the forefront of change.[3]

It is imperative that towns across the UK understand the transition that is underway, and support the re-thinking, re-shaping, and re-launching of their retailers and high streets to harness change and ride the wave. Over the past 6 months, IoT Tribe has been working with Barnsley Metropolitan Borough City Council and the Sheffield City Region to source and apply technology that can reinvigorate the retail sector, providing value to all stakeholders, from large brands to smaller market traders.

A total of eleven startups, including AiVA, Bubbl, Buybuddy, Fuchsia Creative, LiVert, Quin Al, Recoshelf OU, Talansoft, Tickendy, Viume, and Xylene, took part in a 12 week programme, exploring opportunities to work with Barnsley’s retailers and town planners. Their tech is impressive. Tickendy’s PoS solution, digitalises receipts and combines them with multiple GDPR compliant data sources to enable retailers to better understand customer behaviour and drive sales. Viume’s VR and gamification platform and its pilots with several well-known brands have proven to increase customer acquisition by 167% and cross selling by 21%. Livert, an early Paris-based startup on a mission to decarbonise our shopping by aggregating demand at the last mile delivery stage. In a few short months, it has onboarded over 4,000 users and signed up 150 e-commerce partners.

Many are already working with leading brands, from Decathlon to Moschino and Farfetch, and are set to scale significantly in the next 12 months.

“Good startups solve problems based on existing behaviours. Great startups drive behavioural change”

Michael Dimelow, Block Ventures

The programme culminated in our iconic Tribe Tech Games at the Brewery in London, with the startups with fundraising targets ranging from £500,000 to £3.5M pitching to UK investors. The investor panel, with Michael Dimelow from Bloc Ventures, Chris Haley from 01 Ventures and Richard Maton from Aperio Strategy focused on a more strategic look at the changing nature of the British High Street and the role of technology in shaping that future.

Source: Nauta Capital | European RetailTech Startup Report 2020

“The retail sector has an excellent opportunity to serve people’s needs through the channels and places that matter most to them. It was exciting to see the sheer breadth of solutions being developed by entrepreneurs to help retailers compete through digital, stores, high streets and markets.”

Richard Maton, Aperio Strategy

And the results? Well, four of the start-ups from the programme will be piloting their technology in Barnsley Council, providing data-driven products and services that will help retailers, interact with customers, adjust offerings and generally operate more efficiently. Reach out to us if you would like to see what they can do for your town or city.

“The great thing about this cohort is that they are not just speaking to the WEIRD population (Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic societies — who represent only 12 % of the world’s population). They are able to bring globally relevant tech to retail.”

Chris Haley, 01 Ventures

This is just one of the ways in which we bridge the gap between real-world challenges and technologies. Please connect with us to find out more about our programmes and we hope to see you at one of our future events!

[1] Rebooting retail: How technology will shape the future of retail. McKinsey. 2020

[2] The Future of Fashion: From design to merchandising, how tech is reshaping the industry, CB Insights Research Brief. 2022.

[3] Rebooting retail: How technology will shape the future of retail. McKinsey. 2020

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