Want to see what the future of shopping looks like?
First, download the local shopping app Swirl and head down to Newbury Street. Then, stop into Alex & Ani, Timberland, or the Blue Jeans Bar, and browse around the store. At some point, you’ll receive a notification indicating a sale or deal on some the items you happen to be standing near. As you move throughout the store, other deals will pop up, some may be too good to resist.
Swirl’s disruptive technology, a combination of in-store Bluetooth sensors and a “marketing console,” leverages the ubiquitous mobile tool that is the smart phone to create a unique, innovative shopping experience.
With eCommerce and mobile shopping on an increasingly astounding rise, implementing an engaging way to connect with shoppers in brick and mortar stores is both smart and, to some degree, a necessity for retail stores.
Rob Murphy, Swirl’s VP of Marketing, said that although online retail has a ton of buzz, “almost 90% of sales still take place in brick and mortar stores.”
Murphy added that Swirl has “the ability to leverage the fact that more than 50% of the population have smartphones.” The company wants to give merchants “tools so that they can deliver very relevant content and offers to consumers on their smartphones while they are in the store shopping.”
Hilmi Ozguc, Swirl’s founder and serial entrepreneur, came up with the sensor/console concept with the mission of “disrupting an existing industry while applying new technologies in interesting and new ways,” as Murphy said. Traditional retail seemed like the perfect sector to shake up and Swirl launched a mobile app last fall.
Swirl announced recently that it has launched its in-store sensor system with retailers in Boston and New York. Additionally, the company is offering merchants the opportunity to integrate their own mobile apps with Swirl’s technology through an SDK.
In Boston, Swirl’s services are available at a few locations in and around Newbury Street, including the previously mentioned Alex & Ani, Timberland, and The Blues Jean Bar, as well as Scott James and Exhale Spa. In New York, Swirl’s product has been launched at some of the same stores and also a few Kenneth Cole locations.
Dennis Keohane is a teacher, journalist and contributor to VentureFizz. You can follow Dennis on Twitter (@DBKeohane) by clicking here.