December, good month/bad month

December, good month/bad month

Retail Technology Innovation Hub takes a look at the retail technology space during December and rounds up the winners and losers

Good month for…

Voice security and authentication specialist, Pindrop, has closed a £70 million Series D funding round led by Vitruvian Partners. 

Floom, a technology platform and marketplace for florists, has raised £2 million in a seed funding round led by firstminute capital. It will use the cash to continue its US expansion and develop its tech. 

Israeli startup, Tracxpoint, is to roll-out its self-checkout solution, Artificial Intelligence Cart (AiC), at Conad del Tirreno, one of the seven cooperatives of Conad, a supermarket chain with more than 3,000 stores in Italy. Implementation will begin during 2019 with 550 stores deploying the tech.

It has been a long time coming, but omnichannel retailers are now increasingly deploying RFID for superior customer experience management, according to Frost & Sullivan.

Waitrose won the Christmas battle of the inbox, reclaiming the crown from 2017 champ Asda, according to research from Mailjet. The grocery giant rose nearly seven points clear of the pack with a total score of 25.1 out of an available 30.0.

The leading 20 global grocery markets are set to generate an additional $1.9 trillion in sales, growing by 28% between 2018 and 2023, according to IGD.

Consumers are already used to the idea of biometric payments, thanks to the likes of Apple Pay, but this is just the start of things to come, according to Alastair Johnson, CEO and Founder of blockchain-based payments and identity verification platform Nuggets.

Starbucks launched a virtual store bringing together all of its digital services in one place in China.

The UK smart speaker sector is booming and Amazon Echo is its poster child, although its market share is set to drop, according to eMarketer research. In 2018, 9.5 million Brits will use a smart speaker, up 98.6% over 2017. 68% of those will use an Amazon Echo and 26.2% a Google Home.

Flux, a UK startup whose retail partners include Costa Coffee and EAT, has closed a $7.5 million Series A round led by along with existing investors PROfounders and Anthemis.

Bad month for…

UK High Street retailers...The UK now has the lowest proportion of High Street spending in Europe, according to research by Mastercard involving 18,000-plus people. This shows that 43% of spending volume is done physically in stores, while online commerce accounts for 57%. 27% of this is made up by spending on mobile devices.

And there was more bad news for UK High Street retailers. Most of them are not utilising social commerce effectively, despite 74% of the top 50 making it possible for consumers to see featured products when they click on a social image or post, according to research from Curalate.

It isn't just bricks and mortar retailers who are facing tough times. UK online retail sales suffered their worst November growth since 2011, coming in at just +8.1% year-on-year (YoY), as Black Friday discounting fell flat, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

Things that make you go ewwwww…Traces of faeces have been found on McDonald’s touchscreens swabbed in an investigation by

Asos warned of weak profits this financial year after being hit by "unprecedented" discounting in November.

Nick Beighton, CEO, commented:  “We achieved 14% sales growth (for the first three months of the financial year) in a difficult market, but in the light of a significant downturn in November, we think it’s prudent to recalibrate our expectations for the full year. We are taking all appropriate actions and our ambitions for Asos have not changed."

Blippar, an augmented reality and computer vision startup whose clients include Coca-Cola and Nestle, has entered into administration.

HMV’s survival is in doubt following the failure of financial support talks.

The jury’s out on…

Dash is now the exclusive cryptocurrency payment option at all Church’s Chicken Venezuela locations. It becomes the first major franchise group to accept the altcoin and joins a list of over 2,200 merchants in Venezuela that now take Dash at the PoS.

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