Swiss Startups Reshaping Customer Engagement in the Grocery Industry

Jelena Tasic Pizzolato, General Manager at Lifestyle Tech Competence Center And Innovation Director at Loomish

As in many industries, the pandemic has put on trial the capacity of the Swiss grocery industry to deliver a smooth, pleasant and safe customer experience. As a consequence, the awareness among grocery brands and retailers about the need to bring closer together their online and offline worlds quickly has never been stronger.

And that is where the opportunity for innovation lies.

Earlier this summer, the Ticino-based LifestyleTech Competence Center ( organised an international start-up/scale-up scouting  focusing on boosting customer engagement in the grocery industry. Gathered together around the shared goal of finding ways to meet their evolving customer’s needs fast, the participating brands and retailers, members of the Jury panel, included senior managers from Barilla, Lavazza, Coop, Metro - among others - as well as from global leaders such as Accenture, Microsoft and UBS.

While the scouting programme attracted over 60 innovative companies from across Europe and North America, what was especially notable was the number and the quality of the Swiss applicants.

The scouting partner of the program, a Swiss investment management firm, Loomish, specialised in FoodTech and FashionTech innovations, exclusively for Startup City, has put together a list of the Top 10 Swiss startups innovating the grocery industry.

"The awareness among grocery brands and retailers about the need to bring closer together their online and offline worlds quickly has never been stronger"

Here is the list:

1. Animatico https://animati.co/, Zurich

Animatico is about interactive avatars as digital touchpoints in retail stores to foster customer engagement, steer product choices and link offline and online channels. They provide an avatar animation, interaction and analytics platform which can be used to create interactive avatars as digital in-store touchpoints for customer support and product recommendation. The Animatico technology is specifically designed to work in challenging environments with background noise where they deploy their own audio-video sensor fusion to reliably detect interactions and voice activity of a user.

2. AI Retailer Systems AG (https://airetailersystems.com), Bern

Enabling retailers to open 24/7 with checkout-free solutions: they empower retailers to round-the-corner, 24/7, 'Grab & Go' stores, that makes shoppers come back. Their AI based deep tech determines “who took what” with the highest accuracy & lowest cost.

3. Eyeware Tech (https://eyeware.tech/), Martigny

Eyeware develops technology for understanding human attention in 3D environments with direct applications in multiple industries, including gaming, robotics, research, advertising, and more. They can accurately detect where a person is looking at, and use this information for analyzing attention to objects, generating dynamic content, or controlling interfaces with eye-gaze.

4. Technis SA (https://technis.com); Lausanne

Technis commercializes smart flooring solutions for people flow management and monitoring in complex environments. Fitted with an innovative sensor technology and deep learning algorithms, the system recognizes the direction of movement, understands when a person falls on the floor and any other event it has been taught to recognize.

5. Traverz, Zurich

Humanising product search in e-commerce and marketplaces, Traverz provides a new product search experience delivered to marketplaces / e-commerce sites, that helps consumers make better choices. They do this by supplementing the traditional filter and search system with an AI-driven in-place feedback and Conversational Recommendation approach, resulting in higher sales, better insight into consumer needs, and lower dependence on data quality.

6. LuckaBox Logistics AG, Winterthur

A SAAS Last Mile Digital Forwarder for Enterprises, LuckaBox is the premium platform for contemporary last mile delivery options, allowing enterprises to easily attract new customers, retain existing customers and increase sales. With LuckaBox' fast, flexible and green delivery partners, fully automated logistics network and the reduction to only one touch point, enterprises can now deliver to their customers in less than an hour or via smart tours the next day.

7. PopUp Shops, Zurich

Described as an online marketplace for short-term retail and promotion space, POPUPSHOPS.com is a specialised online marketplace where landlords can list and rent out their retail space and brands can find and rent space - worldwide. We match brands and spaces - our AI-powered location intelligence finds the right match and makes success predictable.

8. sQale, Lausanne

Fully integrated global ecommerce infrastructure to brands, sQale offers an all-in-one solution that brings together every aspect of ecommerce from the first click to the final delivery. It gives the opportunity to brands and retailers to start selling everywhere in the world without the need of opening local entities, while preserving and enhancing the brand’s image.

9. SKYLABS SA, Lugano

S-Retail is a web app which helps Store Managers to create a seamless omnichannel experience throughout e-commerce, CRM and remote assistance. Already widely used in the fashion industry, the application has generated a lot of interest in other retail verticals, including the grocery business.

10. Profila GmbH, Zurich

Profila is a consent-based customer data management app, giving brands a new source of accurate data, and compensating people for their data & attention. Their web-based brand portal for companies works as an extension to a company’s CRM system, and provides brands with a new source of better data and insights directly from the consumer, as well as a new one-to-one, private communication channel with each individual, according to the parameters defined by the consumer. They share 50 percent of the revenue with users, because it’s their data and attention that gets shared.

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