Marks and Spencer have announced a new ‘digital lab’ for developing new retail technology.
The lab aims to have what they describe as a ‘Silicon Roundabout’-style start-up mentality, enabling more agile and rapid development of new technology for the retailer.
M&S is recruiting a specialist team led by Kyle McGinn, a former Reevoo.com chief and a key player in the design of BBC iPlayer.
The team will be based in the company’s Paddington office, working closely with the software engineering team which was brought in-house last year.
Growth of retail tech
The retailer will continue to work with external suppliers alongside the new venture, presenting potential opportunities for London-based technology companies.
Heikki Haldre, founder of virtual fitting room Fits.me commented:
“Innovators and solution providers should probably look at what M&S is doing here, and think very carefully about making sure their solution is ‘light’ enough, from an implementation point of view, to be tested quickly and easily by this sort of agile evaluation group. It’s most likely the way forward.”
M&S has not disclosed how much funding would be put towards the venture, and says the work will begin “in the coming months”.
Laura Wade-Gery, Executive Director E-Commerce Multi-channel at M&S commented:
“By strengthening our in-house expertise with a dedicated digital lab, we can move with even greater pace and deliver first to market technology and experiences for our customers.”
The move is the latest in a series of steps to increase the company’s digital activity and presence.