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Tech Startups Moving from Concept to Convenience Store

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Strap, a technology startup that analyzes information from smartphones, wearables and health data applications to securely engage consumers while building brand loyalty, is working with Trident and Kum & Go as part of Mondelez International’s Shopper Futures program.

Mondelēz recently named eight startups to participate in  Shopper Futures, the company’s innovation initiative, bringing together retailers, entrepreneurs and its own “power brands” to help transform the consumer retail experience.

The Strap pilot will bring Trident and Kum & Go critical insights into consumers’ activity, sleep, food and body data to improve their personalization marketing efforts and help lift sales.

Cincinnati-based Strap applied to Shopper Futures in June and won the opportunity to pitch in person at the Mondelez headquarters in New Jersey.

“We pitched with 17 other startups over two days to Mondelez power brands and leading retailers,” Strap said. “In the week leading up to the pitch, our team took over the shared startup conference room … and spent many early mornings and late nights cranking on the perfect pitch deck and script.”

In mid-September, Trident representatives will visit Strap in Cincinnati to begin work on the pilot.

Meanwhile, Turnstyle Solutions, a location-based marketing and analytics platform that uses public Wi-Fi to attract, retain and reward customers, is participating in two pilot programs. The Toronto-based company will be collaborating with QuickChek and Mondelez’s Swedish Fish brand in the United States, as well as Mac’s Convenience Stores (Ontario Division) and Mondelez’s Cadbury brand in Canada.

“We are hosting both teams at our offices throughout September to build out our go-to-market plan,” said Ryan Freeman, senior director of partnerships and business development.

Toronto-based Freckle IoT, with a network of beacons that help retailers reach consumers, is collaborating with 7-Eleven and Mondelez’s Oreo and belVita brands in the United States. Chicago-based Earshot, which synthesizing location-based insights and real-time information to provide brands with a smarter approach to real-time precision-based marketing, is collaborating with 7-Eleven Canada and Mondelez’s Dentyne brand in Canada.

The eight selected startups will now work with major retailers in collaboration with Mondelēz International brands to bring in-market pilots to life over the next 90 days. How the convenience-store retailers will implement the startups’ technologies in a real-world retail situation has yet to be determined.

“We know the path of purchase with technology has become complex, with consumers really making shopping an anytime, anywhere experience,” Kim Yansen, director of field shopper marketing for Mondelez, told CSP Daily News earlier this week. “So the trick with mobile is how to interject and connect with people, making shoppers into consumers.”

Retailers in particular play an important role for Mondelez, Yansen told CSP Daily News, in that snacks and candy are impulse buys that sell best when customers are physically in a store.

“Our categories are not planned purchases,” she said, “So when people park and go inside, we have to … make sure they buy something and lift the category for retailers.”

A spokesperson for Kum & Go told CSP Daily News that after helping vet the startups, it is waiting to engage further in the process as Mondelez and Strap are meeting first.

West Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go has more than 430 stores in 11 states: Iowa, Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based QuickChek did not respond by press time. It has approximately 140 convenience stores in New York and New Jersey.

Dallas-based 7-Eleven, with nearly 10,500 convenience stores in North America, declined to comment.

Deerfield, Ill.-based Mondelēz is a global snacking company with 2014 revenue of more than $30 billion. It is a world leader in biscuits, chocolate, gum, candy and powdered beverages, with billion-dollar brands such as Oreo, LU and Nabisco biscuits; Cadbury, Cadbury Dairy Milk and Milka chocolate; Trident gum and Tang powdered beverages.


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