KEY POINTS

The Coresight Research team will be attending and participating in the Groceryshop 2018 conference, which runs October 28–31 in Las Vegas. The team behind the Shoptalk retail and e-commerce conference founded this new event, which will cover the disruption of the grocery, consumer packaged goods (CPG) and related industries.

  • The conference is expected to bring together 1,000 attendees and more than 150 speakers. Discussion topics will include the transformation of the retail industry, including convenience stores, supermarkets and e-commerce, and changes in the production and distribution of CPGs across multiple retail verticals. Additionally, the event will cover shifts in consumers’ shopping behavior and how they want to shop in the future in both brick-and-mortar and online formats.
  • On October 28, Coresight Research CEO and Founder Deborah Weinswig will emcee a startup pitch competition featuring 12 innovative, early-stage technology companies that provide solutions to solve major problems in e-commerce, grocery retail, and/or the food or CPG sector. The participating startups are Adrich, Forager, IceCream Labs, IntraPosition, Locai Solutions, Nextuple, Observa, Packyge, Shelf.ai, Simplista, Tastry and Tochize.
  • In this report, our sixth in a series of daily Countdown to Groceryshop 2018reports, we profile Observa, which uses machine learning and its mobile app to direct either client company employees or Observa’s own crowdsourced panel to gather real-time data on what’s happening in retailers’ stores and, more specifically, on their shelves.

Groceryshop 2018

The Coresight Research team will be attending and participating in the Groceryshop 2018 conference, which runs October 28–31 in Las Vegas. The team behind the Shoptalk retail and e-commerce conference founded this new event, which will cover the disruption of the grocery, CPG and related industries. Coresight Research has previously partnered with Shoptalk to host that conference’s annual startup pitch competition.

Groceryshop is expected to bring together 1,000 attendees and more than 150 speakers. Discussion topics will include the transformation of the retail industry, including convenience stores, supermarkets and e-commerce, and changes in the production and distribution of CPGs across multiple retail verticals. Additionally, the event will cover the rapid shifts in how consumers discover, shop and buy—from the use of new technologies and business models to the latest trends in consumer behaviors, preferences and expectations.

According to Zia Daniell Wigder, Cofounder of Groceryshop and Chief Content Officer of Shoptalk, Groceryshop was created to meet the needs of a sector on the verge of a massive shift. The percentage of grocery sales made online in the US is only 2%–3%, significantly lower than for other categories such as apparel and electronics, where e-commerce accounts for about 20% of sales, Wigder said.

Over the next few years, new omnichannel grocery offerings will likely go mainstream, providing consumers with new experiences as well as more convenient delivery and pickup options. Digital platforms that offer the best mix of price, selection and convenience will see increased transaction volume, while physical stores will experience change and likely play a key role in online order fulfillment.

Startup Pitch Competition

On October 28, Coresight Research CEO and Founder Deborah Weinswig will emcee a startup pitch competition featuring 12 innovative, early-stage technology companies that provide solutions to solve major problems in e-commerce, grocery retail, and/or the food or CPG sector.

Each company will present its business to a panel of judges from the investment community and to the audience. Two winners will be announced, one chosen by the panel of judges and one by audience vote, and each winner will be awarded $10,000.

Groceryshop curated the participating startups based on their solutions to some of the most pressing challenges that grocery, e-commerce, food and CPG companies are facing. All of the participating startups have less than $3 million in funding, provide business-to-business (B2B) solutions and were founded in 2014 or later.

We categorized the 12 companies into four buckets of retail disruption:

  • Sourcing, Merchandising and Cataloging:Shoppers are demanding more grocery choices than ever before, and grocery retailers face challenges in keeping their assortments up to date and in sync with consumer demand.
  • Enabling Grocery E-Commerce:Providing engaging and personalized online experiences while meeting consumer expectations regarding fulfillment and delivery is crucial for retailers.
  • Improved Shopping Experiences:Shoppers are demanding intuitive and more seamless grocery experiences both online and in stores.
  • Tracking, Measurement and Insights:Digital technology is creating new metrics and capabilities for gleaning insights for grocery retailers and CPG manufacturers.

Below, we profile Observa, one of the companies participating in the startup pitch competition at Groceryshop. We categorize Observa as being in the Tracking, Measurement and Insights group.

Observa

Company Description

Observa offers brands and retailers real-time access to qualitative and quantitative insights into what is happening on their store shelves, with no capital costs. The company’s platform enables clients to immediately gauge the effectiveness of their marketing and sales efforts. The company’s crowd of on-demand human data collectors (“Observers”) or clients’ own employees are deployed to collect data in stores, so brands and retailers can see what their customers are seeing. The company uses artificial intelligence (AI) for image recognition to deliver sales-increasing insights to clients and to direct human Observers to take immediate actions such as gathering more data, delivering sales material or scheduling a follow-up visit.

Market Overview

The customer relationship management (CRM) analytics market is broadly segmented by type: marketing analytics, customer analytics, contact center analytics, sales analytics, and web and social analytics. CRM analytics enables organizations to easily access their data and modernizes business decision making. It can also be applied in online analytical processing via data mining. Research firm Market Research Future predicts that the CRM analytics market will grow at CAGR of 13% between 2016 and 2023, to approximately $9 billion.

What Problem Is the Company Solving?

Brick-and-mortar stores are not keeping up with the elevated expectations of consumers who are used to convenient online experiences. Business leaders often make decisions based on stale or incomplete information, leading to actions that are too late to be effective or are inconsistent. Improving store execution by ensuring product availability and promotional compliance, and by reducing out-of-stocks, is one of the biggest opportunities in retail.

Headquarters

Seattle, WA

Funding Stage

Seed ($1.1 million)

Business Model

Observa’s clients pay for the collection and analysis of shelf images and data. When Observa’s crowd of Observers collect data, each observation is charged on a per-transaction basis; when brands and retailers use Observa’s app and their own workforce to collect data, they are charged a monthly subscription fee. When images are fed from other systems or devices (cameras, handheld devices, robots or drones), clients are charged an image-processing fee.

Management Team

CEO and Cofounder Hugh Holman has years of experience in driving strategy, innovation, and sales and in managing retail execution. CTO and Cofounder Erik Chelstad’s experience includes serving as senior engineering manager during a public offering, profitably merging acquired technology companies and creating digital marketplaces.

 

 

Company Outlook

Observa’s first phase focused on crowdsourced retail audits using manual data entry into mobile apps for small to medium-sized CPG brands, with reporting via Observa’s dashboard. The company is now in its second phase and is integrating its platform with sales data and reporting systems. Observa is currently focusing on AI-driven insights and actions for CPG brands and retailers using image recognition, with collection via its crowd of Observers, field reps, store employees or other devices. In its next phase, Observa will work to offer a complete view of any store shelf in real time.


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