Ever since I returned from ShopTalk, I’ve dedicated time to learning more about the startups that exhibited at the show as well as others in incubation labs around the country. You’ll read more about startups in the upcoming issue of May/June issue of Innovative Retail Technologies, which will hit your mailboxes later this month. In the meantime, I had the opportunity to catch up with Ani Collum, CMO of Ellie Kai, a made-to-order women’s apparel startup, and advisor of Queuehop, which offers next-gen self-checkout, about her thoughts on how startups are impacting the retail industry and why retailers should consider partnerships with early-stage tech companies. Here’s what Collum had to say.
“Retailers can no longer rest on their laurels. The landscape has changed significantly, even over the past two to three years, and new concepts are really giving legacy retailers a run for their money. Startups and smaller niche retailers have competitive advantage across so many fronts, one being that consumer preferences have shifted. There is a strong desire to interact with brands that don’t carry any “baggage.” Consumers are looking for new players, new stories, and new ways to buy—and the retail players of yesteryear need to catch-up FAST in order to maintain any relevance in today’s marketplace.