Tech start-ups 'must work together to deliver complete solutions for retailers'

As retailers are increasingly moving away from one-size-fits-all technologies, tech start-ups must collaborate in order to deliver innovative digital solutions.

Stephen Millard, lead of a new retail technology working group, said: "While there's a lot of retail technology innovation, much is dependent on other technologies to deliver a complete solution."

The new working group – born out of the private sector networking group Tech London Advocates  ̶  will bring together retail tech start-ups, innovators and accelerators to explore key challenges facing the retail industry and how technology can be used to solve them.

The key retail tech companies involved in the retail tech working group include: Reward Technology, Shopa, Powa, Localz, Orpiva, Soundest, No place like Holm, Editd.

Millard said the working group will also help start-ups work closely together as they grow and scale.

"There's a huge benefit in meeting and working with complementary technology providers who are selling to the same customers."

Millard said as retailers are moving away from one large vendor which provides all retail technology solutions, they are increasingly putting in place frameworks in which they can be innovative. "They want to bring in technology to test, try and learn – fail fast, learn fast."

"So every single technology company who wants to sell to a retailer must coexist with others," he added. "They must be able to understand the other solutions retailers have and the solutions which are complementary in order to collaborate and have more success together."

Tech London Advocates

Tech London Advocates is the organisation behind the new working group. The independent, private sector technology network has 1,800 tech experts, investors and professionals who convene to champion technology start-ups in London.

The retail working group has been launched alongside three others – creative tech, cyber tech and games tech, all led by industry leaders who will work towards solving the challenges and opportunities facing the emerging sectors.

Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, said: “After the breakthrough success of fintech, London’s technology community is starting to produce startups with the ability to grow rapidly in size and scale across a range of sectors. As tech becomes increasingly mainstream and continues to disrupt every industry in the capital, we should expect to see the next significant exit coming from the likes of retail, creative, cyber and gaming.

“Tech London Advocates' new working groups demonstrate the private sector’s appetite to support these emerging specialisms and work together to overcome the challenges still facing fast growth businesses in the capital.”

Read a comment piece on Essential eCommerce from Tech London Advocates' founder, Russ Shaw, who examines how technology can help online retail businesses.