Start-ups raise $1.5B to optimize grocery store operations with Ai

Apr 25, 2017 10:00:00 AM | By Cheryl Rippy

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Kevin Stambaugh, Shelfbucks EVP, Chief Product & Data Officer:   "Most companies playing in that space are trying to do in-store mobile marketing.  The single problem they are having is they can't justify the infrastructure cost. The beauty of what Shelfbucks is doing, we found a way to pay for the infrastructure and to get millions of beacons into stores. No one has figured that out. That's why it is so important for us to do this first, because then it makes everything else possible."

Brett Hurt, CEO & Co-Founder at  “One thing that I think is the most exciting trend happening now with the internet is the digitization of the physical world.  What Shelfbucks is doing is really digitizing the physical store environment so that brands can understand for the first time how effective their endcaps and displays are. Everybody should be doing that. It makes no sense that people aren't doing that in mass right now. Amazon's not standing still and Amazon is the kind of store of the future. The whole thing is completely digitized. Everything a customer does in that store is recorded, tracked, understood, used for targeting. If that's not a wakeup call, I don't know what is.  As you know, I've been involved in for a long time. I served on the board there for seven years and I was literally pleading with retailers at, I was pleading with them saying, "Please wake up, Amazon is coming, you need to digitize the physical store environment. That's where much of your sales are.  If you want to survive, you've got to do this."

Grocery Store Of The Future: 65 Startups Reimagining Shelf Stocking, Product Promotion, Shopper Tracking, And More

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The startups in this infographic have raised nearly $1.5B to optimize grocery store operations with AI, virtual reality and more.  (Article here...)

CB Insights:  (April 2017)  While grocers have traditionally not been as affected by the migration to e-commerce as other retailers, e-commerce has now begun to hit the grocery space. As Amazon — the leading threat in nearly every retail industry— pushes more heavily into grocery, brick-and-mortar grocery stores will continue to face increased pressure to optimize every inch of their physical stores.

Dozens of startups aiming to help grocery businesses improve their brick-and-mortar operations have raised funding. These startups offer products ranging from sensors to track shopper routes throughout the store, to virtual reality to design more attractive product displays

John Frankel, Founding Partner of ff Venture Capital:  "We invest in businesses. Business is not about data, it's about outcomes. The facts, all the data layers that they're doing and everything in between, you don't really care, you just want the thing to work. You've always got to think about the end process, and what it is you're trying to achieve.  Does the access to this data and the extracted data layer from it, give you a particular advantage? A barrier to entry, an ability to do something faster, cheaper, more effective than other people.”

Aziz Gilani,  Early Stage VC at Mercury Fund: “I've become over the last two years, just watching my portfolio companies revolutionized by it, a true believer in the concept of ABM, account based marketing, where you're individually tailoring and you're individually modifying your marketing account behavior on an account by account basis, which is something that is a huge consumer, not only location data but literally every attribute you can find about whoever you're marketing to. This is something that is influencing the behavior of my portfolio companies. As a side effect of that, I've started investing in the technology myself. It's not on the end point price of it but on the consumption and the use case piece of it. That's a big, big deal for me right now.”

John Frankel:  “Look, here's the real question, I'm not sure there is an app out there that isn't tracking your location. Talk about Uber, I find it strange that they seem to want to track my locations for the 99% of the time that I'm not using the app. But location is incredibly valuable information, and the reality is, the amount of “data exhaust” that we're all giving off is incredibly valuable to the people that want us to spend money on their products.  What's happening is, on the back of this data exhaust, many businesses are being built, and those businesses are ones that ultimately are looking to monetize your behavior, in one way or another, leading to better efficiency. From the most consumer-friendly way of putting it is, so that the ads you see are relevant to you.”

Jacob Mullins, Principal at @Shasta Ventures, Organizer @VRTuesday, Co-Founder @Exitround:   "I mean, I love the idea of data exhaust. For me, data's like the new oil, it's what everybody's chasing and everybody's trying to mine right now, and find value in.  The problem is, most of the organizations have no problem collecting data, they don't know what to do with it. They have no way to act on it and draw intelligence from it and figure out how to make it useful to their businesses. There's plenty of data, and we all know how to collect it. It's the action-ing of it that becomes a challenge, I think.”

 Kevin Stambaugh, Shelfbucks EVP, Chief Product & Data Officer:   "We're swimming in data to some degree, but there's no effective way to know what's happening with these merchandising programs and no way to pull that together to make smart decisions.

The one thing Shelfbucks feels confident in, this is a true industry problem. We verified it with many retailers and CPGs, and there is today no other reasonable way to get this information. They can choose to not have the data, like they don't today, but if they want the data, there's only one effective way to get it right now, and that's from Shelfbucks.

We are providing comprehensive execution supply chain insights.  First, we must understand what is actually going on. That's just accurate comprehensive execution with supply chain insights.  We need to then translate what it really means about which programs are performing well and which ones aren't.

We are collecting a lot of interesting data that's never before been possible.  Ultimately to turn into actions that generate results in the form of increased sales and reduced costs. That's what matters to everybody.  We are making sure that this information is actionable even in the very short term.  Immediately actionable, so that our customers, both the retailers, who we view right now more as partners, and the CPGs will get immediate value and then over time increasing value from our solution.

The important thing, though, is that the data points are the missing link, the thing that has not been there that allows the CPGs and retailers to make sense of all the other data they have. The critical thing Shelfbucks does is leverage a lot of data that the CPG’s and retailers already have but can’t make sense of."


How Shelfbucks Delivers Value to  CPG's & Retailers (1:44 Video Here)

How to Optimize POP Merchandising Displays

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Topics: Best Practices for use of Beacons in Stores, Data is imperative for e-Commerce, Benefits of making Merchandising Displays Smart, How will measurement help your category growth?, How to Place Beacons in a Grocery Store

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