5 startups using tech to disrupt the retail landscape


Technologies such as big data, machine learning and blockchain are disrupting the retail landscape.

With this in mind, we take a look at 5 tech startups harnessing emerging technologies to help brands connect with consumers and enhance customer experiences:

1. DigitalBridge

DigitalBridge is a visualisation tool that allows customers to try home décor products in their own rooms.

Their machine learning and computer vision technology allows consumers to virtually redecorate their room and see what it would look like with new wallpaper or paint or different furniture.

Based in Manchester, the firm raised a £700,000 Seed round from a series of private investors in February.

Stuart Marks, founder of L Marks and an investor in the firm who contributed £350,000 to the round, said at the time: “David [the CEO] has put an exceptional team in place, which has been one of the key drivers in the business’ rapid growth in the last 12 months.

“The potential of this new platform is really starting to come to light among major retailers, both in the UK and across the world, and I have no doubt the business will continue its disruption of the retail sector,” he added.

2. Hoxton Analytics

Hoxton Analytics counts footfall and gathers customer demographic information based on footsteps falling within the field of view of a tiny camera.

It detects information such as shoe type (male or female) and style (formal or sports), alongside size.

The information is then used by retailers to manage staffing, merchandising and the measurement of customer conversion rates.

The startup is backed by retail-focused accelerator, TrueStart.

3. Novalia

Based in Cambridge, Novalia uses haptic technology to create smart surfaces that act as sensors and speakers.

Wirelessly connecting the digital world to the physical through touch, the startup enables brands to engage with their target audience in a more exciting way.

Novalia partnered with Pizza Hut last year to create “DJ pizza boxes”, allowing pizza fans to open the cardboard box and play music by grime DJ P Money and Rinse FM’s DJ Vectra.

4. Blockverify

London-based BlockVerify leverages blockchain technology to fight counterfeit goods, in an attempt to increase transparency across supply chains.

Each product is labelled with a BlockVerify tag, meaning its origin can be verified at each point along the supply chain.

This data is then recorded on the blockchain and can be accessed to verify authenticity by consumers at any given time.

5. Hullabalook

Another London startup, Hullabalook seeks to help consumers find the products they want quickly and easily.

Backed by TrueStart and Passion Capital, the startup enables e-commerce retailers to use a plugin in order to let shoppers search, filter and find products online.

It’s interactive visualisation technology means consumers can get a better idea about how products may fit into their space before they make a purchase.

Brands using Hullabalook include Made.com.