XRC Labs Showcases Retail Tech Innovations in VR, AI, Big Data
XRC Labs, an accelerator program focused on e-commerce and retail startups, held a demo day for its latest class Thursday, featuring innovations in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and other technologies.
The group of 10 startups is the sixth class for New York-based XRC, which was founded three years ago to promote innovation in the disruptive age of Amazon. The 14-month program is based at the Parsons School of Design and helps its startups connect with retailers and brands that could use their tech tools.
“Consumers are changing faster than the retailers,” and that is resulting in shoppers bypassing traditional stores in droves, says Pano Anthos, XRC’s managing director. “Consumers are fed up.”
The middle market is especially suffering, he adds. Apparel chains such as Gap, Express, and J. Crew, for example, have consistently seen year-over-year declines in same-store sales, according to a Bloomberg column.
“Consumers will increasingly look to online platforms as the first point of search, attracted by their convenience, relevance, and breadth of offering,” according to the most recent “State of Fashion” report by McKinsey and Business of Fashion: “The question for fashion brands is no longer ‘if’ but ‘how’ to collaborate with big online platforms.”
Here are more details about the latest XRC class:
—Simplista: makes product listings software that allows retailers to order and place items on the shelf within days.
—VirtualApt: builds robots that create virtual reality-style videos for apartment and condo buildings and other real estate up for sale or lease.
—Fabulyst: makes artificial intelligence and analytics software that enhances online searches to help retailers connect to shoppers seeking their products.
—Relovd: a marketplace for second-hand children’s clothing with social media characteristics.
—Eat2Explore: a monthly meal-planning box of recipes and accompaniments from cuisines from around the world aimed at family mealtimes.
—Holi Chow: customized dog food based on a questionnaire and blood test results.
—RetailDeep: facial recognition software that helps retailers identify top customers and access purchase history and buying preferences when shoppers walk into a store.
—VisuWall: digital marketing company that seeks to optimize vacant storefronts and provide analytics about who stops by an ad and for how long.
—MayaWell: maker of a sparkling prebiotic agave water.
—IRL: software that connects brands to retailers by putting products in places where potential buyers can use them in real life, such as gyms, vacation rentals, or work.