Nina Maurer: 4 retail startups to follow and why they are great


Innovation is happening everywhere nowadays, even in the retail industry. Selling good products at good prices is not enough.

In an environment where a few companies with sharp strategies are becoming extremely powerful and minacious, innovation is not a “nice thing to have” anymore.


• need to be delighted and inspired

• want greater transparency than before about what they buy

• expect the same efficiency offline as they get online

• are starting to see advantages of a minimalist lifestyle. (See the graph below from Google Trends. During the last 10 years the amount of global searches for “How to consume less” has had a steady growth).

All these trends together make it challenging for retailers to stay relevant in the long term. In a fast-paced environment with a lot of changes, agile and innovative companies can help. Here is a selection of relevant startups for retailers.

1.) TheMotion (Madrid)

TheMotion is a company aiming at transforming traditional catalogs with high-performing video ads that attract attention and convert viewers with the help of adapted templates.

From the website:

Scalable & Always Up To Date

From hundreds to thousands, create as many videos as you want and have them automatically updated every day to reflect price and availability changes.

Why is it great?

Most marketers know videos can be a very effective channel of communication. At the same time, it can be very time-consuming to create new, original video content. Having templates dedicated to a specific industry like retail seems to be a smart concept.

2.) NearSt (London)

NearSt lets you insert a key word (name of a shop or simply the name of a product, eg. “energy-saving bulb”) and with the help of geo-location will suggest good old brick and mortar shops with the product you are looking for.

The price is listed, and there is sometimes the option to have it delivered.

Why is it great?

The company seems to understand many customers like to shop in offline shops but still enjoy the convenience of online search. This is especially true for men, who are less inclined to enjoy browsing for products!

3.) Grow (UK & USA)

This company aims to simplify the process of creating dashboards with several (scattered) sources of data for retailers.

Why is it great?

Data is king! We hear that often and it seems a reasonable statement. Why guess if we can base our assumptions on real data?

However, the number of companies stating they make the most out of their data is lower than those companies whose data generates extra value for them. (Companies such as McKinsey or Google could be examples though).

Many companies focus on gathering more data for retailers (like mine), but fewer are developing ways to make all that data available for everyone in the company in a simple way.

It is the reason I think Grow has a future with a lot of opportunities.

4.) Bllush (Israel)

Similar to TheMotion, Bllush wants to automate content creation for retailers, though with a different approach.

As they state on their website, they are creating “shoppable content.” Basically, their product “Discovery” curates a live feed of top influencer images automatically linked to a retailer’s website from social media.

When a visitor is interested in one picture, the system will find similar products that are available in the retailer’s store.

Why is it great?

The concept is maybe not new (it is used in paper magazines as well). But having it available online and automated is definitely a great evolution for the concept and can help online retailers fill their need for inspirational content.

Also, we don’t like to feel like a company is being pushy trying to sell us something, right? Seeing cool pictures that are constantly changing can definitely benefit customers in their buying decision.

Do you know other interesting, innovative companies that can inspire innovative retailers? Do you have one? Feel free to share it in the comments! Or email: [email protected]

About the author:

Nina Maurer is a native of Switzerland and an expat entrepreneur in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

She is the founder of SpeedyRating, where she is helping retailers become customer-centric with the help of daily customer feedback.

For fun, Nina likes to blog about the future of retail.

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