Innovation and startups are buzzwords nowadays. Many companies use them, but only a few live them. Spar, a big Austrian supermarket chain, and their affiliate Hervis, the biggest sportswear and sports equipment retailer in Austria, are setting an example of how cooperation between a corporation and a startup can work.
For Spar’s CEO Hans Reisch it is important to invest in the future. Startups are known for their forward-thinking and their innovative solutions. But finding the right startup for a win-win cooperation is not easy. “Startup-Ecosystems are the business models of the future”, Reisch said. Spar and Hervis decided to cooperate with weXelerate to find startups for their need. And they have succeeded all the way.
According to Alfred Eichblatt, CEO of Hervis, most people see the digital changes as threat, but he continues “Hervis warmly welcomes change and innovation and sees this development as great chance to get a head-start to our competitors”. Hervis is planning to roll out 4 different projects step-by-step with 4 different startups in 2019. One of these startups is Texel. They specialize in 3D body scanning. In the shops, customers will be scanned and will take their measurement data back home on their smartphones. The next time they shop online at Hervis, they can use this information and find sportswear that fits. Most people buying online know how tedious it is that sizes vary and not every medium shirt fits.
Another startup Hervis will work together with in the future is Jingle. With their knowhow they have come up with a chatbot which enables users to combine the online- and the offline shopping experience. The chatbot imitates a sales person and sales conversation. It will ask users what they are interested in. But moreover the chatbot will ask questions about their size or their preferences and will help them to find the perfect bike or ski boots or any other product a customer is interested in.
Innovative is an adjective that fits Hervis well. For their current winter collection, they have introduced the lightest ski boot as well as ski boot heater where you heat up your boot, step in and the boot is customized and therefore fits your foot perfectly. Furthermore, they have merino wool products in their latest winter collection.
weXelerate is more than happy about this cooperation. CEO Claudia Witzemann explains „The quick technological and social developments mean for companies that they have to change and adapt on an almost everyday basis. Our unique ecosystem offers to our partners innovative business solutions as well as networking with numerous partners and mentors. This leads to great success as the outcome of the Hervis cooperation with our startups has shown.”
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