Creating the correctly personalized in-store experience is much easier said than done in most cases – consumers want salespeople who are knowledgeable enough to serve up the correct recommendations for their tastes and needs, but they don’t want to feel crowded, followed or stalked while they are shopping.
“Mystore-E cares deeply about the future of … shopping,” said CEO Asaf Shapira. “Our goal is to create a personalized shopping experience that benefits retail stores, while also catering to the customers’ wants, needs and style preferences.”
The Mystore-E platform is working best, according to Shapira, when it is working most invisibly, so that its functions present themselves to consumers without “getting all up in their faces.”
That means digital displays throughout a retail location. It also communicating directly with store workers who match them to the best (and most likely to be purchased) products for each shopper in the store.
In essence, Shapira said, Mystore-E attempts to bring to the physical store the advantage of web-based retail outlets: data. When customers shop online, the retailer can know all kinds of things about them, like what they have bought before, how often they visit, what items they’ve perused during their most recent journey and what items they keep coming back to look at.
Physical retail by comparison, he noted, can be a black box for merchants who often find it hard to get information about a customer other than the fact that they are currently in the store. The rest of the context, he noted, just isn’t there.
“We’re … using a one-of-a-kind platform to help the store function like a website — delivering the same experience to the customers, creating a dynamic display that changes in real time according to data, and bringing the online tools and techniques to the physical stores,” Shapira said.
Elements of MyStore-E’s offering are already visible in various part of the retail ecosystem. AR try-on is increasingly common in higher-end cosmetics shops, and smart mirrors are seemingly popping up all over retail, enabling customers to digitally compare outfits by capturing a 360-degree view of themselves.
But Mystore-E’s claim to fame is the holistic and comprehensive offering, according to its CEO, with maximum focus given to the data analysis part of the platform – and using that data to arm sales associates with the right tools to help score conversions.
“This wisdom gives sales personnel up-to-the-minute merchandising insights, which have the ability to boost store performance and deliver a more engaging and relevant customer experience,” he noted.
Mystore-E recently secured $2.2 million in seed funding led by Ohio-based Signet Jewelers, while Ohio-based retailer Value City Furniture started using Tore-E to personalize its customers' shopping experience.
“We believe that Mystore-E will make an undeniable change in the retail landscape by helping to predict, analyze and deliver actionable items based on data, which in turn will direct sales associates and store displays,” said Oded Edelman, chief digital innovation advisor at Signet Jewelers, of his firm’s recent investment.
Mystore-E, flush with new funding, is now looking to expand its partner roster and continue to develop its foundational AI technology. The challenge of their position, Shapira noted, is also their greatest advantage: The field for this type of retail technology is still fairly green and open. There is no clear roadmap to follow, he added – instead, there is a chance to be part of writing an entirely new roadmap for physical retail.
Because, Shapira noted, it is what the consumer is demanding these days. According to a recent survey conducted by Epsilon, 70 percent of consumers report that they would be more loyal to brands that integrated customization into their stores. If physical stores want to remain relevant, they have to follow the first rule of retail – the customer is always right – and then give that customer what she wants.