High above the rooftops of Munich with a view of the Cathedral of Our Dear Lady, the third batch of the Retailtech Hub concluded on 20 November with Expo Day. A total of nine startups showcased their ideas and solutions for digital retail in the stylish new district of Werksviertel and presented their joint pilot projects with the Retailtech Hub’s partners. Just a few days beforehand, startup IDEE was awarded the 2018 Retail Innovation Award by retail association Handelsverband Deutschland (HDE). The Retailtech Hub’s fourth batch will start on 22 January – and the eleven participants are ready and waiting.
Smart door locks, tamper-proof document storage using blockchain, and scanning robots for stocktaking are just a few of the technologies displayed by the startups on Expo Day. The innovations are already being trialled in a retail setting together with the partners of the Retailtech Hub. MediaMarktSaturn is also taking part in several pilot projects. For instance, in recent weeks, customers have been able to simply pick up and pay for headphones using an app at Saturn in the pep Munich shopping centre with the help of the startup Rapitag, thus eliminating the need to queue up at the checkout. Smartmile’s universal parcel station on the MediaMarktSaturn campus in Ingolstadt also came from a Retailtech Hub startup. And a stocktaking robot developed by Quopius is currently doing its rounds in a Saturn store and benefiting customers and employees alike – not just by checking the availability of products on the shelves, but by collecting location data about products for in-store navigation.
2018 Retail Innovation Award for IDEE
Another pilot project will launch in January with IDEE, which was recently conferred with the German Retail Award 2018 in the Innovation category for its password-free authentication solution. The company promises that you’ll never need to remember your passwords again. Instead, all that’s required is authentication by means of your smartphone’s face recognition system or fingerprint sensor – and IDEE logs you in to the desired service on a computer or unlocks your laptop. MediaMarktSaturn employees will be able to test how well this system works from January on their work computers. Incidentally, the two other finalists in the Retail Innovation Award were also Retailtech Hub startups.
Out with the old batch, in with the new
While the participants of the third round are now leaving the Retailtech Hub, eleven new startups from seven countries have already qualified for the upcoming fourth batch running from 22 January to 4 April 2019. This time around, the innovations include smart refrigerators and product tags, flying shelf scanners, and software that adapts business strategies to the weather. All the startups will be introducing themselves at the Open Pitch Event on Wednesday 23 January at 5pm on the MediaMarktSaturn Campus in Ingolstadt. The following startups are moving into the Retailtech Hub:
BuyBuddy BuyBuddy develops smart merchandise tags which allow customers to pay for items without having to go to the checkout. What’s more, the smart tags enable retailers to track their stock in real time, monitor customer behaviour, and additionally protect their items .
Cellomat Cellomat develops machines which enable customers to have their smartphone valued in real time. Then they can sell their phone for the price quoted, trade it in for a new model with a corresponding discount, or purchase matching accessories. Cellomat hence helps retailers automate lifecycle services for mobile devices.
E-bot7 E-bot7 boosts the efficiency of customer service operations by adding artificial intelligence. The system analyses incoming messages and suggests exact responses. Once the technology has been integrated, average processing time is slashed by up to 80% and recurring questions are dealt with automatically.
Livello Livello is a food-and-tech startup. It has developed a smart refrigerator which automatically recognizes, manages and sells snacks, meals and drinks. Offering businesses ‘fresh food as a service’, Livello replenishes the fridge a few times per week.
MessengerPeople Messengers like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are among the most popular consumer platforms with billions of active users every day. MessengerPeople enables businesses to communicate with their target groups via messengers for the purposes of customer service and marketing.
Metigate Metigate helps companies improve their margins by automatically adapting their business strategy to the weather conditions by means of an API platform and interfaces. Metigate translates standard weather forecasts into buying intentions and executes actions in AdWords, Facebook, CRM applications and ERP systems to capitalize on the potential harboured by various weather conditions.
OptioPay OptioPay has set up a platform allowing cash payouts to be replaced by shopping vouchers with a higher value. For example, suppose an insurance company has agreed to pay out €100 to someone whose smartphone has broken. Instead, the policyholder can opt to receive a shopping voucher worth €120 for their favourite consumer electronics store.
Orby The company develops autonomous flying robots for use by retail companies. These drones can scan store aisles to check stock and provide detailed information about the quantities and location of items. The Orby system can also perform surveillance functions.
Packator Logistics service provider Packator closes the gap between offline couriers and clients for the last mile. Packator puts retailers in touch with the best transportation solution from a network of partner couriers and also takes care of tracking consignments. Retailers and customers can track their deliveries on Packator’s online portal even if the delivery contractor doesn’t have an online presence.
Reactive Reality Reactive Reality offers an augmented reality (AR) solution for mobile devices that solves a major e-commerce problem: how to experience products before buying them. Using Reactive Reality, customers can virtually ‘try on’ a garment or see a coffee machine digitally shown exactly where they’re thinking of putting it in the kitchen. The technology thus helps boost sales and strengthen customer loyalty. In addition, it lowers return rates by allowing users to experience products before buying them online.
Tiliter This startup is working on a self-checkout counter for products. Customers simply place their items on the scanner. The produce is automatically recognized and can then be paid for at the counter.