XRC Labs’ Pano Anthos (left) hosted four startup founders on the keynote stage at Retail’s BIG Show 2017.

4 startups closing the gap between retailers and customers

New York-based accelerator XRC Labs hosted a quartet of dynamic disruptors who highlighted their enterprises and how they fit into the broader landscape of retail evolution in the Fast Track keynote at Retail’s BIG Show.

Liyia Wu, founder and CEO of ShopShops


Liyia Wu, founder and CEO of ShopShops, spoke of the exponential growth in the Chinese cross-border shopping market, and how ShopShops connects these consumers with selected retailers in certain U.S. cities. The consumers — who spent an average of $11,000 per trip to the United States in 2015, including $5,400 on shopping — can buy while here, then stay connected once back home.

Alexa Fleischman is CEO and co-founder of Strypes


Alexa Fleischman is CEO and co-founder of Strypes, a platform that powers product personalization for e-commerce brands and makes the most of consumers’ desire to “constantly share what’s different and unique about themselves.”

Fleischman said it’s no longer about just offering myriad choices; consumers want to take part in the creative process, perhaps adding design elements. “Customers today are used to creating digital assets … . They want the same credit with physical products,” she said. They’re happy to pay for it, too; consumers will spend up to 20 percent more for personalized items.

Joe Beninato, founder and CEO of Banter


Joe Beninato, founder and CEO of Banter, asked retailers why they continue to focus on their apps, when up to 95 percent of customers don’t use them. Instead, Banter focuses on connecting customers and companies through messaging.

“Your customers are telling you what they want,” he said, but “you’re not listening. You’re not giving it to them.” Consider, he said, that the average person spends more than three hours a day texting. “One hundred percent of your customers would message you today,” he said, “if only you would let them.”

Erik Skantze, co-founder and CEO of Perseus Mirrors

Perseus Mirrors

Erik Skantze, co-founder and CEO of Perseus Mirrors, addressed the rapidly expanding smart home market, and how now is the time to explore opportunities. He gave a demonstration of a smart Perseus Mirror, showing convenience-based purchasing, as well as the ability to use online resources to solve problems. It has a bar code scanner, for example, that will display reviews, video and other related information. The goal, he said, is to “close the gap between retail and the home.”

See the full Fast Track session in this video from Retail’s BIG Show: