It’s possible that no group of companies benefits as much from NRF 2019 as those with space in the Innovation Lab. Designed to group start-ups together in an easy to navigate area, the Innovation Lab is a carefully curated group of businesses that the NRF believes have something significant to show off.
MarketScale took a private media tour of the area on the first day of NRF 2019 to see what stood out amongst these rising brands.
Perfitly: More and more, shoppers have turned to the internet to purchase products because of its convenience. In the clothing and fashion industry though, there are still some elements that simply cannot replicate the brick-and-mortar experience, mainly trying on items. Perfitly attempts to solve this issue through AR/VR visualization. Users create a digital avatar based on two simple photos of themselves. The avatar can be used on any clothing brand’s site that teams with this startup. The technology uses 240,000 data points to make the avatar and clothing sizes as accurate as possible and a spokesperson said their clients have seen a reduction in item returns from 28 percent to 10.
Tompkins Robotics: Another impact of the e-commerce world is the need for extremely efficient and precise distribution centers. Tompkins Robotics is automating this process with its team of mobile item sorting devices for warehouses. According to the company, four of the United States’ 10 largest retailers have already partnered signed on to use the ‘automated robotic sortation’ devices.
Locix: Also innovating in warehouse processes is Locix. The company uses image and machine learning to collect data on distribution center operations so retailers can better streamline workflow. Tools like an indoor GPS and HD motion sensors provide business analytics in real time.
IAM Robotics: As a solution to the warehouse labor shortage, IAM robotics seeks to keep businesses efficient by automating the fulfillment operations for retailers. At the Innovation Lab, the company was showcasing its item-sorting robot that can be used both in the warehouse and storefront. Robotic devices were a major theme at this year’s show and IAM was among the most impressive.
Onfleet: This last mile delivery solutions company is essentially doing for shipping what Uber has done for personal travel. Through its web dashboard, retail professionals can assign shipments to specific drivers based on convenience and other factors like who is nearest by and update them with real time maps. By sending the right driver at the right time on the right route, retailers can save time and deliver to customers efficiently.
Narrativ: Founded in 2015, this CNBC Top 100 Startup to watch is connecting brands with the content created about them online. The company lets businesses bid for publishers to link and mention them in their articles. This way, brands can gain exposure without creating an advertising strategy and drive sales to their site. Narrativ is already profitable and aims to help retailers win back customers from Amazon.
Trendalytics: Retailers, especially clothiers, are always trying to stay on top of the latest trends. Often, they are chasing trends that have already peaked in popularity however, or do not know whether the trend will be sustained. Trendalytics looks at data like Google search volume to identify trends and uncover their staying power in real time. With this new insight, brands can re-word existing product names to gain better traction on online searches and increase their visibility overall.
More NRF 2019!
With the first day of NRF under his belt, MarketScale’s Chief Digital Editor Geoff Short joined the podcast to provide an update of what he has seen so far. He marveled at the advancements in facial recognition technology, talked about his favorite booth so far, and provided an update on whether or not he has eaten one of those famous New York hot dogs.
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