BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE/ANALYTICS

Target welcomes new class to accelerator program

BY By Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The newest batch of start-ups are making their way to Minneapolis for the second annual Target + Techstars retail accelerator program.

After receiving applications from more than 3,000 technology start-ups — 70% of which had a co-founder who is either female or comes from an ethnically diverse background — Target whittled the list down to 10 finalists for this year’s tech accelerator. Companies range from online advertising to rebates to clothing alterations, and hail from Minneapolis to as far as Belgium.

During the next 13 weeks, these 10 companies will be mentored on how to validate their ideas and turn them into concepts that can impact the retail industry, according to Target.

Here are this year’s 10 finalists:

Air Tailor: Based in New York, Air Tailor delivers clothing alterations on demand via text.

Bybe: This company simplifies digital alcohol promotions for retailers by embedding beer, wine and spirits rebates inside retail applications and websites.

Find Me A Shoe: A startup from Target’s India Accelerator Program, Find Me a Shoe is a footwear recommendation app that assists users in finding their best-fitting shoe.

Kokko: This female-led company provides color matching technology that acts as a shopper’s personal, unbiased makeup adviser, according to founder Nina Bhatti.

Local Crate: This Minneapolis-based company features weekly meal kits comprised of recipes and pre-portioned, locally sourced ingredients.

Savitude: A SaaS-based product that resides on retailer websites, Savitude integrated IBM Watson’s visual recognition technology to help users find apparel that best suits their body type.

Shopturn: In effort to improve the returns process, ShopTurn is an on-demand return service that enables shoppers to return items to brick-and-mortar retailers — directly from their home.

SpotCrowd: This New York-based company provides a machine learning-based online security platform that connects existing retail security cameras, making it easier for retailers to catch shoplifters.

StoryXpress: Hailing from India, StoryXpress helps retailers convert images, text and video clips into promotional video ads.

Upsie: This Minneapolis-based company offers an app that enables shoppers to digitally buy warranties for their electronics, accessories and appliances.

While on site at Target headquarters, the startups will have access to a range of more than 120 mentors who will provide feedback, answer questions and offer advice to foster the startups' growth and development. Among those who signed up to advise this year’s group include Target’s CEO Brian Cornell, chief merchandising officer Mark Tritton and chief human resources officer Stephanie Lundquist.

Like last year’s inaugural program, Target’s 2017 accelerator is run in collaboration with experts at Techstars. The session will end with a Demo Day in October. Here, participating startups will present their work to a Twin Cities audience of Target team members and the greater tech community.

“Target’s long history of creativity and invention is rooted in our ability to spot breakthrough ideas that can make Target better for guests,” said Pam Tomczik, VP corporate development. “The goal of the Target + Techstars retail accelerator is to uncover, validate and scale those ideas by helping startups bring new products and experiences to retail.”

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News

Women’s fitness concept closing up shop

BY By Marianne Wilson

Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. is shutting down its women's fashion/fitness store format.

Dick's is closing its two existing Chelsea Collective stores on August 6. Dick's launched the brand in 2015, but it never expanded it in any signficiant way.

"We opened Chelsea Collective stores as a lab to more thoroughly understand the women's specialty athletic business. As the leases at both locations are expiring soon, we have concluded the very successful experiment," stated Dick's, reported Marketwatch.

A message posted on Chelsea Collective's Facebook page stated: “Chelsea Collective is closing on August 6th. Thank you for being a loyal customer! Please visit our partner, Dick’s Sporting Goods, for your fitness and fashion needs."

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ECOMMERCE

The top back-to-school shopping day will be…

BY By Marianne Wilson

Retailers might want to have extra staff available on August 5.

The peak day of the back-to-school shopping season will be August 5, followed by Labor Day, September 4, according to a study by RetailMeNot. The firm's data shows consumers are likely to do the bulk of their spending in August.

RetailMeNot's "2017 Retailer and Consumer Back-to-School Insights Guide" also reveals that price is the biggest (49%) determining factor in what back-to-school shoppers will buy, with 82% of parents saying they are looking for deals. And 36% of parents agree they look for more savings during back-to-school than any other time of the year.

“Discounts and deals are incredibly important this time of year to both retailers and shoppers," said Marissa Tarleton, chief marketing officer, RetailMeNot.

The widespread use of mobile and social to shop around means more opportunity for retailers to get in front of deal-hungry consumers before they pull out their wallets, according to RetailMeNot.

"Parents want to maximize their spending power and are increasingly turning to mobile as part of their shopping journey," said Tarleton. “For retail marketers, the opportunity to capitalize on omnichannel offers is more important than ever to reach consumers online, on mobile and in store. Consumers are seeking discounts, and it’s imperative that retailers and brands meet them where they are with compelling content.”

In other results:

*Sixty-three percent of parents report they will spend more than $100 per person on back-to-school shopping, and 33% say they be spending more than $250,

*Fifty-four percent of shoppers will do the majority of their back-to-school shopping in a physical retail location.

*Mobile and social will be the top marketing priorities of retailers this season. Also, more brands are choosing to extend their audience reach with offers issued through partner platforms and apps. For example, 70% of mobile offers will be issued through partners, and 65% will be through the retailer's own app.

*Seventy-percent of respondents will look for deals via mobile.

Download the full reporthere.

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