4 companies that are powering retail’s tech transformation

Learn more about the retail innovators presenting at The Retail Experience
Sr. Director, Grassroots
July 8, 2022

Retail is an industry of innovation, constantly changing to meet the demands of customers. That’s why NRF invited four innovative companies — Afresh, PopCom, Shelf Engine and Spacee — to share how technology advances are transforming the retail industry at The Retail Experience at the 2022 Retail Advocates Summit on July 28.

The Retail Experience features six exhibits that demonstrate retail’s role in driving the economy, providing jobs and impacting lives and communities across the country. These companies will be featured in the Our Innovations exhibit to demonstrate their technology solutions and share their story with Capitol Hill lawmakers and staff.

We sat down with these four companies to learn more about their technology and why they are attending the Retail Advocates Summit.


“Afresh is thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with policymakers and retailers at the Retail Advocates Summit,” says Marketing Coordinator Katherine Harris. The company is showcasing its Fresh Operating System technology that helps retailers improve bottom-line savings with AI-powered forecasting, inventory, ordering, merchandising and store operations tools.

Afresh’s technology plays a key role in helping businesses provide fresh food and reduce food waste while also focusing on sustainability and protecting the planet. “About 30-35 percent of food at the retail level is wasted annually,” Harris says. “It’s clear reducing food waste is a priority that all industries have an opportunity to address, along with related issues such as greenhouse gas emissions and food insecurity.”


PopCom will be showcasing its PopShop Local technology at The Retail Experience. “PopShop Local converts unused space in hotels, airports, malls and conventions centers into a robotic pop-up shop of products made by local entrepreneurs,” says Vice President of Business Development Natasia Malaihollo. “Our goal is to give small businesses an opportunity to sell their products in high-traffic venues at a fraction of the cost of a traditional bricks-and-mortar store.”

For Malaihollo, attending the Retail Advocates Summit and demonstrating PopCom’s technology to policymakers is critical to bridge the gap with local leaders and help them understand the role technology plays in helping retailers become more efficient and understand their customers. “We want policymakers to see the value of our technology to both consumers and retailers and allow for its use in regulated retail.”

Retail reimagined

Learn more about what this summer event has to offer for retail innovators.

Shelf Engine

“We are excited to shine a spotlight on how technology has positively impacted the grocery industry and brought value to retailers, suppliers and distributors,” says Kane McCord, president and chief revenue officer of Shelf Engine. Shelf Engine’s mission is to reduce food waste through automation, harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to help food retailers forecast consumer demand for highly perishable products and automate ordering.

McCord is looking forward to sharing Shelf Engine’s role in reducing food waste with policymakers at the Retail Advocates Summit. “Each year, supermarkets throw away 43 billion pounds of food, which equals 10 percent of food waste in this country,” he says. “Shelf Engine has prevented 4.5 million pounds of food waste for our customers — a 32 percent reduction.”

Retail technology

Learn more about the latest tech innovations in retail.


Computer vision and AI company Spacee is attending The Retail Experience to help policymakers understand how artificial intelligence and robotics are transforming the retail industry. “A massive wave of change is here,” says CEO Skip Howard. He will be demonstrating Spacee’s technology solutions that leverage computer vision and give retailers near-real-time insights for managing inventory and interactive consumer behavior.

Spacee’s technology can also help retailers optimize their supply chains, which is especially important as retailers deal with unprecedented challenges and backlogs in global supply chains. Howard wants policymakers to learn “how AI is going to affect the retail market” and how Spacee “solves multibillion-dollar problems for retailers.”

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