Countdown to Shoptalk: Startup Pitch Competition Participant Profile—Engagement Agents

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KEY POINTS

The Coresight Research team will be attending and participating in the Shoptalk 2018 conference in Las Vegas March 18–21. Billed as the world’s largest conference devoted to retail and e-commerce innovation, Shoptalk will cover “the rapid evolution of how consumers discover, shop and buy—from new technologies and business models to the latest trends in consumer behaviors, preferences and expectations.”

  • On March 18, Coresight Research CEO and Founder Deborah Weinswig will emcee a startup competition between 15 innovative, early-stage companies at Shoptalk. Two winners will be announced, one chosen by a panel of judges and one by audience vote, and each will be awarded $25,000. Each day leading up to Shoptalk, Coresight Research will publish an overview of one of the participating startups’ technology solutions.
  • Engagement Agents, one of the pitch competition participants, aims to help retailers reclaim lost traffic and sales by using the digital and physical marketing channels that their shopping-center landlords have already established. The solution automates distribution of and promotes retailers’ digital and marketing campaigns via their shopping centers’ mobile sites, websites, social media accounts, email lists, apps, events and in-mall digital signage.
  • On March 20, Weinswig will participate in “Overview of Retail and Ecommerce Innovation in China,” a session that will cover technology and business model advancements in areas such as checkout, payments, delivery, logistics, the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics.

Shoptalk 2018

Shoptalk is billed as the world’s largest conference devoted to retail and e-commerce innovation. Conference organizers expect more than 7,500 attendees at the event this year, which runs March 18–21 in Las Vegas. Coresight Research is again partnering with Shoptalk to host the conference’s annual startup pitch competition.

On March 20, Coresight Research CEO and Founder Deborah Weinswig will also participate in a Shoptalk session entitled “Overview of Retail and Ecommerce Innovation in China.” Zia Daniell Wigder, Chief Global Content Officer of Shoptalk, will interview Weinswig and Hans Tung, Managing Partner of GGV Capital, on topics that include technology and business model advancements in areas such as checkout, payments, delivery, logistics, the IoT and robotics.

Startup Competition

On March 18, Weinswig will emcee a startup pitch competition between 15 early-stage companies. 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 $25,000.

Shoptalk curated the participating startups based on their solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing retailers today. As we highlight in our 18 Retail Trends for ’18: Preparing for Another Year of Change report, the retail industry continues to undergo transformation, characterized by five key factors that are either driven by or affecting consumers and retailers:

  1. Consumers continue to switch from conventional retail formats to new, alternative formats and channels.
  2. Shoppers value life-improving services from retailers and technology providers.
  3. Brands, retailers and technology firms are offering new types of interactions, rewards and experiences.
  4. Industry changes are compelling closer collaboration among retailers, technology giants (including Amazon), logistics technology vendors and social media influencers.
  5. Retailers are leveraging technologies as diverse as blockchain and 3D printing to make their supply chains smarter and fitter in an increasingly competitive market.

In response to these trends and opportunities, retailers in all channels are changing to accommodate shoppers’ shifting preferences. Below, we profile Engagement Agents, one of the companies participating in the startup pitch competition at Shoptalk 2018.

Engagement Agents

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Company Description

Engagement Agents is a marketing solution targeted to retailers with locations in multiple shopping centers. The solution automates the distribution of retailers’ marketing campaigns to consumers via shopping centers’ mobile sites, websites, social media accounts, email lists, apps, events and in-mall digital signage. The company aims to simplify the distribution process and track the success of campaigns within the shopping centers’ marketing channels, ensuring that they are current, consistent, correct and compliant with retailers’ campaigns and brands.

Market Overview

Market research firm MarketsandMarkets estimates that the global mobile marketing market will grow from $28.6 billion in 2016 to $98.8 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 28.1%.

What Problem Is the Company Solving?

Shopping centers promote their retail tenants’ marketing campaigns to millions of consumers via mobile sites, websites, social media accounts, email lists, apps, events and in-mall digital signage in order to drive impressions, traffic and sales for both the shopping centers and their retail tenants. Retailers pay for these opportunities within their lease agreements, yet nearly 90% of retailers do not engage their shopping centers’ digital and physical marketing channels—which they have already paid for. That means those retailers are missing opportunities to drive traffic and sales to stores, e-commerce sites and social media accounts.

Headquarters

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Funding Stage

Not disclosed

Business Model

Engagement Agents charges a monthly subscription fee for its software-as-a-service platform.

Competitive Landscape

Engagement Agents competes with traditional retail promotional content distribution methods used by shopping centers, some of which are executed by individual store managers.

Management Team

Engagement Agents President Sean Snyder has more than 15 years of experience in high-growth B2B, B2C and C2C industries. Prior to founding Engagement Agents, he was  Director of Sales and Marketing for Stitch It, a clothing alterations company. Rick Hudakoc, Managing Director, is a senior retail executive and independent business advisor with more than 25 years of experience in retail and wholesale management.

Company Outlook

The company sees consumer mobile engagement as driving traffic and sales. According to Engagement Agents, 96% of consumers say that they plan to use mobile devices to find promotions through a shopping center’s marketing channels before they visit. The company’s solution will help retailers facilitate consumer engagement on all marketing channels, while also saving resources.

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