5 Startups That Can Help Retailers Deal With The Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Published on Mar. 25, 2020

With the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, retailers are facing an uncertain future. All around the world, brands are announcing they are reducing store hours or shutting stores temporarily. Although online stores remain open, the consequences of the coronavirus are many and corporations are looking for solutions that help them deal with this situation as best as possible.

At Plug and Play, we are in touch with the world’s largest retailers, as well as with the best startups. Experts from our Retail vertical have chosen five startups that corporations should know about.

The Call List 

retail startups covid 19 the call list

The Call List is an interactive video plugin for e-commerce. This New York-based startup helps brands deepen their relationship with their customers and monetize interactive video calls. With this plugin, brands can video call their entire community at once and share products for people to shop while video chatting. 

It’s a great tool to engage customers and potential customers, putting them in direct touch with creators, influencers and experts.


retail startups covid 19 remesh

As live events and focus groups get canceled, brands will still need to stay up to date on consumer preference. Remesh allows any brand to collect insights for a small focus group or a large virtual audience, collecting their natural language feedback, and synthesizing that into sentiment. 

The company was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in New York. They offer an AI-powered platform that enables users to have live conversations with their customers at scale and organize audience responses in real-time. It helps users to understand their customers or employees and make more informed business decisions by empowering them to engage with up to 1,000 people at once- online and in real-time.

ZigZag Global

retail startups covid 19 zigzag global

Retailers will have to increasingly operate online and without consumers being able to return an item in-store, a strong returns management solution will be needed. ZigZag Global makes returns easy for any retailer, reducing lead time, and providing a better experience for everyone. 

They offer a software platform that helps retailers manage returns globally, connecting over 200 local warehouses in 130 countries so customers can get faster refunds. Their platform grades retailers’ returned products and offers consolidation, refurbishment, local redistribution, recycling, destruction, and reselling stock internationally on a revenue share basis.


retail startups covid 19 lunchbox

As all your favorite restaurants move to takeout/delivery, they should consider adopting Lunchbox, an end-to-end POS system technology enabling restaurant chains to have a mobile app ordering system and do delivery at scale. 

They create white-label apps, web ordering and in-restaurant kiosk systems that allow restaurants to engage with customers across multiple touch points.


retail startups covid 19 kustomer

Your customers are already cranky from being at home all day; let them not be cranky with their e-commerce experience. Kustomer manages all customer conversations, empowering customer service teams to best serve their now wider consumer group. 

This company, headquartered in New York, offers an omnichannel SaaS platform specialized in customer service. It scales to meet the needs of any contact center and business by unifying data from multiple sources and enabling companies to deliver service and support through a single timeline view. 

At Plug and Play’s Retail accelerator we match large corporations with top-tier startups that are changing the world as we know it. Join our platform today.

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