Navigating the Retail Online to Offline Space

I’ve been tracking ~350 companies so far across 18 different categories in the Retail Online to Offline (O2O) space.  Here is how I’ve broken down the various startups:

retail o2o slide


Local Daily Deals: Companies that sell locally available, pre-paid vouchers for steeply discounted goods and services. This category also includes daily deal aggregators.

Point of Sale 2.0: New point-of-sale solutions that create frictionless consumer transaction experiences and also enable retailers to collect data about their customers that can be leveraged for marketing and CRM purposes.

Online to Offline Payments: Technologies and services that are changing the way we pay for goods. In addition to payment execution, this also includes companies that provide consumers with a mobile wallet (e.g. payment information, loyalty cards) or other digital storage functionality (e.g. receipts).

Loyalty Programs: Products that provide or power a merchant’s reward / loyalty program. Examples include digital frequent shopper cards, tailored rewards based on spending, etc.

Social Discovery: This category includes companies that allow for discovery through location check-ins and social sharing of ideas, products, companies, brands, etc.

Coupons: Companies that focus on both traditional and digital merchant coupons.

Local Incentives: These companies help stores increase loyalty, customer base, and revenue from both new and repeat customers through deals, local offers, discounts, frequency rewards, gamified badges, and other techniques.

Marketing Platforms and Customer Relationship Management: Products that enable merchants / brands to engage with their customers across social media channels, and execute and manage marketing campaigns. This category also includes customer relationship management tools used to improve customer communication, tracking, and overall relations.

Infrastructure and Enablers: Products and tools designed to help developers increase functionality in their existing products (e.g. payment integration), create applications (e.g. mobile apps, websites), etc .

Physical Store Analytics: Using sensors, cameras, and mobile devices to provide retailers more data about customer behavior in-store such as window conversion rate, customer dwell time, optimal shelf placement, and ideal store hours. These companies help retailers optimize the customer experience to increase revenue.

Local Advertising Technology: Companies that alert the consumer of a retail product or service. The advertising models in the O2O market often center around targeted ads, real-time mobile ads, retargeting, dynamic ads based on proximity to clear inventory, ads targeted based on check-ins or social comments, and in-store up-sell ads.

Data and Analytics: These companies help with the acquisition, organization, and distribution of data that companies can then utilize to enhance their applications and service offerings.

In-Store Experience: Companies that are innovating with in-store navigation, mobile-enhanced shopping lists, monitoring friends and family in-store, real-time customer relationship management, and “looking” inside venues to see product offerings and clientele demographics before making a purchase.

Convenience as Marketing: Much of the value proposition of these services is that they allow for the more convenient selection and purchase of goods or services.

Gift Cards: This category includes both physical and digital stored-value and prepaid cards.

Search and Local Availability: The companies in this category provide the means by which consumers can search and/or compare local availability of products and prices. This includes innovations such as store-level inventory searches and local comparisons.

Price and Feature Comparison: Services that empower consumers to compare product prices at different outlets or compare features across similar products (e.g. scan and engage capabilities for QR codes, bar codes, or physical items to bring up product information and comparisons in real-time).

Retail Augmented Reality: Companies that enable consumers to interact with products using augmented reality (e.g. virtual manipulation).

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