Our startup: online shopping app Stored
Danny Howe is a former Managing Director of international payments business WorldFirst and Lee Hart is the former UK General Manager at global fintech giant Fiserv.
BizAge asked Danny about their startup Stored, which aims to change how consumers save goods they see online, but aren't yet ready to buy.
Hi Danny! What's your elevator pitch?
Stored offers retailers a lifeline by revolutionising how they manage the 'save for later' economy. Providing an entirely new retail experience which optimises all their channels for the way consumers discover and shop. Consumers using Stored can curate shopping baskets and wish lists containing online and offline items from any retailer in one place on their mobile and share them via social media and messaging platforms. The app offers retailers a way of pooling their collective scale to reach consumers who have their products under consideration and to offer incentives and discounts to move them to purchase.
Why does the market need it?
Conventional baskets aren’t aligned to how we shop today. They’re transactional by their nature and built only for purchase even though consideration and social sharing forms such a huge part of the shopping experience.
This means there is a massive, missed opportunity for retailers. By making it easier for consumers to buy or save products using their mobile in store and adding to that basket online too, we are giving retailers another opportunity to retain visibility of the consumer journey as they move offline and online and also influence conversion with product level retargeting and incentives. With the average consumer only using four retail apps frequently and Amazon being one of these, Stored can put the power back into the hands of the retailer by aggregating their collective pulling power to overcome barriers to adoption.
Stored is the first step in creating a true omni-commerce experience for retailers where physical and digital experiences and commerce are seamlessly connected and in one place.
Retailers will also remain in complete control of their brand when connecting physical and digital assets in the platform.
Where is the business today?
We have successfully closed our first funding round and the product development is now being finalised, for a January launch. We have onboarded 3,000 beta users in the 1st month since we announced the product to market and are receiving a very positive response. We are continuing to drive beta sign-ups from consumers ahead of launch, and are onboarding retailers for the pilot programme.
What made you think there was money in this?
Through our previous roles, we have witnessed first-hand the difficulties and pain points retailers experience because of the disconnected nature of multichannel retail. To-date technology has not enabled them to connect physical and digital retail to give a true, accurate picture of their customers and how they shop.
This means missed opportunity and missed revenue.
In April, we ran a detailed consumer study and found that 98% of the 1,200 respondents were saving product ideas in one or more ways across multiple channels. While 56% started a product search via one channel but completed the purchase via another. Consumers need a more connected shopping experience. However, to meet consumers’ expectations, there are big barriers to entry for most retailers. It’s incredibly expensive to develop your own app and even more so to drive adoption and maintain it. We can deliver this experience on behalf of the retailers and provide this to them for little cost but huge benefit.
What's your biggest strength?
We are devoted to delivering value to retailers. We are tackling the issue from both sides – consumer and retailer - to deliver truly connected commerce. We are connecting both sides of the transaction. Our customer is the retailer, but to deliver value to them, we need to deliver value to their customer.
What is the secret to making the business work?
Research, research, research. Followed by data. Every decision we have made in this journey has been carefully and thoroughly researched. We believe in challenging any assumptions. Assumptions need to be researched and then backed up with data. Data-led decision making is key and to make sure we’re able to best support our clients we will constantly strive to understand their needs and stay at the forefront of innovation through thorough research, data and insight.
How do you market the company?
We are marketing Stored to both consumers and retailers through targeted marketing strategies. We have developed a target set of consumers through our consumer research and are reaching these audiences primarily through social media, both organic and paid, focussing on Instagram and TikTok in particular. We also have an email nurture program in place for those signing up for the beta. Once the product is available for download, we will begin an influencer program with shopping-focussed influencers who have an audience regularly shopping at multiple retailers.
We are also putting in place a B2B marketing strategy, reaching retail business owners through LinkedIn activity, targeted Facebook ads and trade PR.
What funding do you have? Is it enough?
We secured £500k in our angel funding round. Our funding to date has enabled us to create a viable product but our international ambitions and the size of the opportunity for Stored does mean that we will be starting a new funding round in the new year. Momentum is building fast and we want to capitalise on that.
Tell us about the business model
Stored is a platform that enables retailers to engage with consumers when the time to buy isn’t now. Retailers can communicate with consumers throughout the entire journey, from consideration to purchase.
We provide a monthly subscription with modular fees dependent on which products the retailers require. The vision for Stored is for it to have a place in every journey. To that end, we have different levels of entry to enable the smallest business to have access to basic functionality at zero cost, to the largest highest growth businesses that want to enrich their offering with enhanced feature functionality.
What were you doing before?
We both have a background in payments. I [Danny] was at WorldFirst for 11 years, most recently as Managing Director of international payments and Lee was UK General Manager at fintech giant Fiserv.
WorldFirst was acquired by Ant Group during my time there and I saw first-hand how Alipay were able to deliver a truly connected, closed loop phygital solution in China and how disconnected retail is primarily a western problem.
We have both spent a great deal of time with retailers in our previous roles, giving us an insight into their pain points and we also saw how payments businesses were striving to fix them, but couldn’t. We decided that for true omnicommerce to become a reality, we needed to build a solution from the ground up.
What is the future vision?
We believe that in order for truly connected commerce to become a reality, there has to be a single retail passport that allows the consumer and their identity to move freely in any environment anywhere they go. Our vision is that Stored becomes that passport. So, it becomes as easy to move online from offline and vice versa and the experience to be personalised around each consumer.