The Infrastructure of Retail Technology
We’ve been thinking, talking and writing about retail technology for a while now. Over the past two years, we’ve seen it grow into an extremely robust industry. One subject that we haven’t yet explored is the infrastructure that is now in place; it supports retail technology and all it can do is truly fascinating. As we’ve seen more and more of these support systems and connection points crop up, we thought it worth sharing a few.
- Crowdfunding for Enterprise Companies
- Indiegogo ran their first enterprise campaign on their crowdfunding platform about a year ago, and it was a huge success. GE was able to test out a new idea they had: a nugget ice machine. It raised so much money so quickly that Indiegogo has since set aside a whole sector of their business for enterprise campaigns. In this way, crowdfunding is like the next generation of social media engagement for enterprise companies. They are able to immediately reach an audience before putting in massive amounts of time and money for R&D, validate their idea, get realtime feedback, and the crowdfunding model essentially guarantees that customers will put their money where their mouth is, as opposed to potentially empty “likes” and “favorites” on social media.
- Retail Technology Incubators
- If you look at AngelList, there are currently 40 incubators that consider themselves dedicated to retail technology. TechStars’ program, in concert with Target’s retail tech initiative is one of the most interesting and innovative. Target, one of the largest retailers in the world, has decided that it needs to stay ahead of the curve and is investing heavily in any sort of new technology that can give them an edge, whether in-store or behind-the-scenes.
- Connecting Large and Small
- Sites liked Partnered and CrowdCompanies have seen the rise in retail technology for a while, and like Indiegogo, see how enterprise companies and tech startups can benefit by working together. These two places specifically focus on connecting large and small companies in order to enable established larger businesses with technology, and allow startups to get a leg up by landing an enterprise deal.
With all this supporting infrastructure in place for the retail tech industry, we see a clear way for the circle of product development and retail to succeed and flourish in the next decade. Soon, with the help of all these initiatives and networks, a new industry standard will be established.