5 Companies Shaping The Future Of Retail

Technology has changed practically every aspect of daily life, from media consumption to exercise. From the ability to purchase goods and services with the touch of a button to the use of virtual reality to try on a pair of shoes, retailers are catering to consumers like never before. Here, in no particular order, are companies transforming the customer shopping experience.

Entering the list at #1 is Volumental, which uses a 3D scanner to gather multiple foot measurements and other data for its AI-powered Fit Engine in order to offer customers personalized footwear recommendations. The company's Engage platform uses scans and previous purchases to build custom-made ecommerce experiences for shoppers, including a list of shoes tailored to their specific dimensions and tastes. Among the global brands and retailers that utilize the technology are Saucony, The Walking Company, and New Balance.

Through a strategic partnership with Stride Rite, the company provides a fitting process designed specifically for children. Reminder emails predict growth spurts and let families know when it's time to make a return visit to the store for new shoes. Volumental has been featured in a variety of media outlets including Forbes, Footwear News, and Cheddar.

Coming in at #2 is commercetools, a next-generation software company that offers a cloud-native, headless commerce platform. The organization claims its API approach helps retailers create brand value by empowering their marketing teams to design unique and engaging digital shopping experiences. The technology allows retailers to engage with customers via webshops, mobile apps, voice assistants, AR/VR applications, and social networks.

Its Accelerator platform focuses on enterprises that need to launch a business model in a matter of weeks. Among the vendors providing these solutions for customers are Amplience, Crownpeak, and Magnolia. Founded in 2006, commercetools has offices in Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Singapore.

In the #3 spot is SES-imagotag, which provides smart electronic shelf labels and other retail solutions to such industries as consumer electronics, cosmetics, drugstores, and fashion. Its V:Rail interactive display offers retailers the ability to leverage full high definition screens to enhance the shopper marketing experience and optimize store operations. The system lets staff adjust prices, brightness, and merchandising via an in-store touch interface.

SES-imagotag is the recipient of multiple industry honors, including the Intelligent Star in China Smart Retail award and a RETA for Best In-Store Solution. It has garnered international media coverage in such outlets as Les Echos, LSA, Capital, and BBC Radio. Austrian food retailer Billa, the Jardiland chain of garden centers, and the Italian Farmacia Niguarda have all utilized the company's digital solutions.

At #4 is Perch. It specializes in interactive physical and electronic retail displays that can detect what merchandise customers are touching, picking up, or putting down, and that then respond with digital content. Its client roster includes such major brands as Johnson & Johnson, Kate Spade, Jo Malone, Barnes & Noble, and Neiman Marcus. Forbes named the company as one of 15 tech companies to watch in 2018, and it has won numerous Clio, Digi, Edison, and retail design awards.

The Perch Product Personalization engine lets consumers visually configure their merchandise while viewing multiple item combinations, with or without sales associate assistance. In addition, brands can offer customers online-only options through the platform. A virtual try-on and magic mirror experience powered by augmented reality engines is also available, allowing shoppers to sample such items as cosmetics.

Rounding out the list at #5 is Geoblink. Established in 2015, it provides a platform for retailers, consumer goods, and real estate professionals to make location-based decisions for their businesses. Through collaborations with telecommunications companies, banks, and GPS providers, it offers access to an exclusive database of information on pedestrian traffic, transactions, and population movements.

Through its Location Intelligence Index, Geoblink compiles such datasets as sociodemographics and points of sale for geospatial analysis, transforming the information into a map-centric interface. Named by Bloomberg as one of the 50 most promising startups in the world, the company has offices in Madrid and London. It counts such brands as Danone, CBRE, and Goiko Grill as clients.