LONDON, United Kingdom - In a shared workspace on the Southbank near Waterloo, Swarm are shaping their Future Store. Here, beauty, fashion and luxury blend with tech and content start-up Swarm has been staging a test run of the tech-powered retail experience the company is set to unveil later this year. Swarm, already involved with stores including the beauty sector pioneer, the Ocado/Marie Claire powered Fabled, and with associations with brands including Ford, Adidas and Google, Swarm are set to deliver the panacea for retailers searching for that store of the future 'golden goose'.
The announcement comes at a critical time for Swarm having bought together a team of creative and technologists. The team are all small and ambitious individuals or companies who are devoted to delivering world class experiences. All members have been associated with Co-Founders Tim Manning and Ray Harris somewhere along their 25 year history in interactive design and marketing technology. 'We have a team we can trust' says Harris.
The Store of the Future could prove to be one of the company's most important moves yet. Luxury is growing fast and the beauty sector bucked the Black Friday spending down turn continuing to grow apace as disruption in the beauty store space heats up.
Swarm's Store of the Future approach is built upon a human first mantra.
'Understand the customer and their retail journey, match aspirations of brand to the customers at the right time in a frictionless, seamless way and you have a sale' says Manning.
From fitting rooms equipped with digital fashion advisers, social media make-up stations to store displays with online connectivity Swarm's integrated digital stores are certainly not gimmicky. They are likely to drive short-term PR but more importantly they will drive actual sales. Swarm's Store of the Future dramatically improves the traffic of in-store customer data. Interactions happen between digital store and consumer 'in Internet time' as Harris calls it. 'Customers want information from social media influencers to advise and education served immediately when they are in the middle of the important buying decisions' This enhances human interactions between shoppers and sales associates. Short, palatable and impactful media served on any screen type including the shoppers own mobile.
The concept is modular, allowing retailers to pick and choose components that make most sense for their businesses.
'Components maybe modular but they all plug into a single data platform that can sit alongside retailers legacy system' says Manning 'real-time data triggers media in-store, real-time and gives retail management useful data filtered from the data noise'.
'The data part is critical' thinks Manning.
We now have the ability to look at physical store KPI's (key performance indicators) the same way as digital stores show abandoned baskets.
Loyalty cards, clientelling, payment, apps, digital signage are all available to deliver a real-time interactive digital store on the High Street.
Store of the Future is still in beta with a roll-out plan based on the timings yet to be agreed with development partners. Swarm will create these real life case studies in luxury, fashion and beauty to show that they are the first to crack the solution to the future of physical retail with their 'human first' digital approach.