RetailWeek LIVE 2021 Recap

East London was buzzing last week as delegates from around Europe descended on the Magazine expo building, just a short walk from the iconic O2 Arena, for RetailWeek LIVE 2021. After a delay of almost two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was clear that people were pleased to be getting back together again.

The two day conference was devoted to “Thriving in a Digital World”, and the theme was clearly popular as retailers of all stripes come to terms with the rapid expansion of home shopping and the need to reinvigorate stores to blend online and offline spaces.

In the Startup Discovery Zone, SAI’s innovative computer vision platform stood out for its ability to help brick-and-mortar stores improve efficiencies while helping to drastically reduce losses and missed sales. The platform connects to existing CCTV systems and can provide instant alerts to prevent theft and fraud, while building long-term data about how customers use the store - measuring footfall, time in store and dwell times, among other metrics.

Chris Bell running through the SAI proposition during a 3-minute pitch to delegates

On the flip-side of the Loss Prevention coin, WhyWaste were showcasing their solution that aims to dramatically reduce food waste. Their broad-ranging approach makes managing date sensitive inventory much more efficient and uses AI models to optimise pricing as sell-by dates approach. They also link in with non-profit and charity organisations to reduce friction around donating food to community groups.

After a frenetic few days of pitching, speed-dating with retailers and investors, and talking with delegates in the Discovery Zone, Virtual Retail were crowned Startup of the Year with their impressive 3D virtualisation software.

RetailWeek LIVE returns next May

Chris Bell
Toronto, Canada