Futurists say in-store shopping experiences will be highly personalized before too long. Salespeople will know your likes and dislikes seemingly off the top of their heads, and they’ll know to highlight the items you’re most likely to find attractive.
Artificial intelligence (AI) can help drive that kind of bespoke experience, and Mystore-E intends to establish an early foothold in the market with an adaptable, on-premise platform designed for retail outlets. It’s well on its way: The two-year-old Tel Aviv startup recently raised $2.2 million in a seed round and secured an exclusive partnership with Signet Jewelers.
“Mystore-E cares deeply about the future of … shopping,” CEO Asaf Shapira said. “Our goal is to create a personalized shopping experience that benefits retail stores, while also catering to the customers’ wants, needs, and style preferences.”
From a customer perspective, Mystore-E’s platform is designed to blend into the background. Digital displays equipped with cameras let shoppers try on accessories in augmented reality, thanks to computer vision algorithms. Sales associates get alerts via a mobile app showing the best-matched products for each shopper (plus items that are most likely to sell), and leverage those insights to make recommendations.
Shapira believes a data-driven approach to brick-and-mortar retail can bridge the gap between the 81 percent of shoppers who conduct online research before they make a purchase and the 83 percent who insist on making purchases in person.
“We’re … using a one-of-a-kind platform to help the store function like websites — delivering the same experience to the customers, creating a dynamic display which changes in real time according to data, and bringing the online tools and techniques to the physical stores,” Shapira said.
Mystore-E is hardly the first to bring machine learning to brick and mortar. Sephora’s in-store Color IQ platform scans the surface of your skin to provide a personalized foundation and concealer shade recommendation. Original Stitch’s Bodygram custom-tailors shirts from photos. And Neiman Marcus’ Memory Mirror lets customers digitally compare outfits by capturing a 360-degree view of themselves.
But Oded Edelman, chief digital innovation advisor at Signet Jewelers, contends that Mystore-E’s offering is the most holistic yet.
“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,” he said.
In any case, Mystore-E has the right idea. Adapting to shoppers’ unique tastes and needs can pay dividends. According to a recent survey conducted by New Epsilon, 70 percent of respondents said they would be more loyal to brands that integrated customization into their stores.