R/GA, Westfield connect to future leaders in digital and physical commerce

Messaging bots, sensor data, visual recognition technology and artificial intelligence (AI) are increasingly working their way into the modern marketer's vocabulary.

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R/GA Ventures and Westfield Labs in San Francicso, California are staying ahead of the curve with its announcement today of a new program entitled 'Commerce Connector' offering participating companies access to resources from R/GA and Westfield Labs as well as input and collaboration from program partners including Macy's, Shopify Plus, Bank of America Merchant Services, Verizon, and Walmart to create opportunities for growth. As with all R/GA Ventures led programs, the companies will be given access to R/GA’s award-winning business transformation, strategic marketing, branding, design, and technology service, both in San Francisco and across the network. The program will end with a demo event in San Francisco on October 26th.

"The innovative technologies, services, and business models of the companies in the program position them to be leaders in determining the future of retail and commerce," said Stephen Plumlee, managing director, R/GA Ventures. "We are excited to work with each of the companies to help them build their businesses through access to R/GA's creative capital and client network as well as through the extensive expertise and networks from Westfield Labs and the other program partners."

The program encourages applications from growth-stage startups as well as early-stage startups. The program will also emphasize opportunities for business development, pilots, and partnerships with program partners and their networks and companies will also have access to the Westfield Labs team who work in partnership with top global retailers to enhance the consumer experience.

Participating companies in the R/GA Connected Commerce Accelerator in partnership with Westfield Labs are:

Agent Q: provides the AI to automate natural language user interactions through chatbots, product search, and customer service.

AxleHire: provides same-day delivery services for e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retailers that demand reliability and exceptional customer service.

Clarifai: understands every image and video with the world's best visual recognition technology.

Cordial: enables retail and publisher brands to deliver highly personalized messages, while tracking digital behavior across connected devices, web, purchase events and signals for IoT.

Darkstore: an on-demand logistics platform that converts underutilized brick-and-mortar spaces into local fulfillment centers, allowing e-commerce brands to store inventory, have orders fulfilled, and connect to same-day delivery providers.

Happy Returns: a technology, logistics, and service company building a network of Return Bars where online shoppers can return items in-person for an immediate refund, eliminating the hassle and wait of returns by mail.

Myagi: an online training platform that makes it easy for retailers and brands to create, manage, deliver and measure customer service, product and sales training for their front line teams.

Oak: believes the future of retail will be software-driven. Starting with an interactive fitting room mirror that enables customer requests, lighting changes, and checkout, Oak is building the ultimate intelligent store platform.

Percolata: uses sensor and sales data in physical retail stores to optimize sales teams.

Reply.ai: an end-to-end solution to build, manage, optimize, and scale chatbots across all major messaging platforms.

The companies will also have an opportunity to join roundtable sessions with the program partners and third-party experts from around the globe to discuss cutting-edge innovations and share forward-looking research, creating a multi-dimensional conversation defining the future of commerce and helping to identify potential market opportunities.

Laurie Fullerton

Laurie Fullerton is a writer based in Boston, MA with a background in business, sports, community, medical and travel writing. She has been a newspaper editor in the Boston-area, a sports writer covering yacht racing and a community reporter. She has been reporting for The Drum since October 2015.

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